Starting Sept. 7, the University of Michigan will restore bus routes used prior to the pandemic following increasing concern from students during the first week of the fall 2021 semester.
The Thursday announcement of the updated routes come after students reported long wait times and overcrowding on buses, with some noting that lines at the CCTC stretched back to the School of Dentistry. Some students said they had to walk to North Campus to be on time for class, while others said they were concerned about contracting COVID-19 on a crowded bus.
The Bursley-Baits and Northwood bus routes that ran between North and Central Campus before the pandemic will be returning, according to the announcement.
The reinstated Bursley-Baits route will run from 7:15 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on weekdays and from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Rides are expected to run at 15-minute frequencies, according to the announcement.
Northwood will return to use from 7:15 a.m. to 1:55 a.m. on weekdays and from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Rides are expected to run at 20-minute frequencies.
The Oxford Shuttle will return to operation on weekends from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at 15-minute intervals. New route information will be updated on the Logistics, Transportation & Parking website early next week, though the new routes will not be available on the Magic Bus app, according to the announcement.
These updated routes will run in place of the Bursley-Baits and Northwood loops that were part of the “hub-and-spoke” system developed by Transit Services and faculty from the College of Engineering last school year. The “hub-and-spoke” model was created to provide more frequent trips between North Campus’s Pierpont Commons and the Central Campus Transit Center as well as to reduce time spent in the bus per ride in light of COVID-19. It offers two shorter “spoke” routes: the Bursley-Baits loop and the Stadium-Diag loop.
In an email to The Michigan Daily the day before the announcement of reinstated routes, University spokesperson Kim Broekhuizen attributed the long wait times to a “serious labor shortage” affecting Transit Services as they adjust to serving more students on campus.
“One area where we have been hit the hardest is in the recruitment of temporary and student drivers,” Broekhuizen wrote on Wednesday.
Thursday’s announcement also specifies safety and preventative measures, including a face mask requirement, installment of moveable shields between passengers and drivers, and increased air circulation through open windows. Drivers are also encouraged to keep doors open at stops for increased ventilation, and cleaning protocols for frequently used surfaces will remain in place.