Students express frustration with ‘excessive’ bus route detours

Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 2:56pm

The University of Michigan Campus Bus System shared a number of detours to be put in place next week in an announcment Monday.

The University of Michigan Campus Bus System shared a number of detours to be put in place next week in an announcment Monday. Buy this photo
Danyel Tharakan/Daily

The University of Michigan Campus Bus System, run by the Office of Logistics, Transportation & Parking, announced a series of detours on Monday. Effective on Wednesday, the detours affect the routes of the Bursley-Baits, Northwood, Commuter North, Commuter South, Crisler Express, Diag-to-Diag, Med Express, North-East Shuttle, Northwood Express and Oxford Shuttle lines. 

From Oct. 11 to Oct. 19, additional detours will be implemented for the Wall Street-NIB and Wall Street Express lines. According to the announcement, all bus routes will return to normal by Nov. 18. 

According to Lisa Solomon, planning and communications manager for LTP, the detours are due to a variety of utility work and construction projects surrounding campus. 

“For the detours, our transit team is working to keep the routes as much on time as possible,” Solomon said. “Unfortunately, we cannot control some of the construction traffic. But for students, keeping a little bit of extra time to get to where they need to go is a good strategy.”

LSA senior Selene Yang has lived on North Campus all four years at the University. Especially in the morning, Yang said the detours have lengthened her commute from about 15 minutes to about 30 to 45 minutes. 

“Today and Tuesday, I was really late to my 9 a.m. class because all the buses are getting stuck on Central Campus, and they can’t get up to North Campus,” Yang said. “There’s a lot of traffic, and a lot of people trying to get down to Central.”

Engineering junior Zachary Wernet said he often has to travel between Central and North Campuses for his classes. Though he believes construction benefits the city overall, Wernet said he thinks the projects should have been more spread out over time. 

“I just think it’s excessive how many different routes have changed in all these different ways,” Wernet said. “(The city) could’ve done construction to affect one or two routes at a time, rather than an entire dictionary of changes.” 

Solomon explained that LTP notifies the University community of route changes with transit alerts on their website. The transit live-tracking app DoubleMap, which shows bus routes and locations, has also been updated to reflect the detours.  

Yang said the route detours announcement, which was formatted as a list, could be hard to understand. She wondered whether a map showing all the detours would be more effective.

“The post they made was just about (the detours) was just a huge block of text instead of maybe showing it on a map,” Yang said. “That could visually show which stops might’ve been changed or how the route looks now as compared to how it used to be.”

Solomon explained some of the detours will last a relatively short amount of time, so LTP did not think a visual aid was needed. 

“So, sometimes we do this, it just depends on the length and nature of the detour,” Solomon said. “Some of the detours are less complicated or pretty short, and so we may not do it for that. But if they are about to take a route, and if operating, they can definitely pull it up in the live app.”

Prior to Solomon speaking with The Daily, none of the recent transit alerts included any maps. Since then, a map has been attached in the Washtenaw Avenue lane closures alert for the Bursley-Baits, Northwood Express, Commuter North, Diag-to-Diag Express and Oxford Shuttle routes. 

Overall, Yang said the detours have exacerbated an already-frustrating morning commute. 

“Billy Magic didn’t warn me for this,” Yang said.