The new line of sleek city buses inscribed with the words “The
Link,” along with the University’s modifications to its bus system,
has been troubling some Ann Arbor commuters who have yet to master
the new routes.

Kate Green
Students board a University bus yesterday. University and Ann Arbor buses have made changes to their routes.
ASHLEY HARPER/Daily

“It’s confusing, I don’t know where all the stops are – even
with all the flyers they pass out,” LSA freshman Sheema Akhtar
said. “Even though the schedule is posted, sometimes they skip
stops.”

Changes to the bus systems include the University’s Commuter
route running from 6:30 a.m. until 1:00 a.m., and replacing the
University of Michigan Health System’s Mitchell-Glazier shuttle and
Nite Owl route after 7:15 p.m. Typically, the Mitchell-Glazier
route runs from the parking lots at Mitchell Athletic Field and
Glazier Way to the Medical Campus. The Commuter will provide
service to the Medical Center both northbound and southbound.

Prior to the recent changes, the Commuter stopped at 7:30
p.m.

Also, the North Campus route that runs on holidays, weekends and
after midnight on weekdays now circles the Diag and makes stops at
C.C. Little as well as the Shapiro Undergraduate Library and near
the Michigan Union.

During normal weekday hours, a bus that services the Northwood
family housing area will provide transit from that area to Central
Campus, while a Bursley-Baits bus will operate between those two
residence halls and Central Campus.

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority in August began The Link
mass-transit system, which joins “The Ride” program. The new bus
system’s purpose is to provide tourists and Ann Arbor residents
alike the ability to commute through the city’s various shopping
districts with less hassle. The bus system runs every eight to 10
minutes between Kerrytown, Main Street, State Street, Central
Campus and South University, with 13 of the route’s 24 stops
located within campus boundaries.

“The Merchant Associations (representing area businesses)
approached AATA several years ago with a desire to provide a
service to help people get around downtown, making it a little
easier to get from one shopping district to another,” AATA
spokeswoman Mary Stasiak said. “The bus system also travels within
one block of all major parking lots in the city.”

Despite the fact that The Link is free in September and 25 cents
for a standard fare after that, a slow start has hampered the
program’s popularity.

Another objective of the program was to encourage less reliance
on personal transportation in the downtown area, Stasiak said. The
Link was financed by a federal grant designed to relieve traffic
congestion and improve air quality in cities reliant on mass
transportation.

“You don’t need a car to get around Ann Arbor,” she said.

The Link encompasses only the downtown area of Ann Arbor, and
some people find The Ride to better suit their transportation
needs.

“I don’t know The Link and it doesn’t go to the (south) commuter
lot,” bus patron Derrick Phillips said.

“My wife works at Community High School and we thought she would
be able to commute to work using it, but because it doesn’t start
until 11 a.m., it doesn’t help us,” Ann Arbor resident Larry Maciag
said.

Still, some regular riders of The Link had positive comments
regarding the service, speed and efficiency of the bus network. “I
think it’s very good. I depend on it,” Ann Arbor resident Julie
Chaplin said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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