Some students are finding new ways to take advantage of unlimited night and weekend minutes on their cell phones — by making calls during their long waits at stops for the Bursley-Baits buses. Many North Campus residents said they feel inconvenienced by the North Campus bus system, specifically at night and on the weekends.
“I usually just end up walking,” said Engineering sophomore Nathan Lehnan. “It takes me less than 20 minutes to get from C.C. Little to Bursley.”
The distance between the two stops is about two and a half miles.
LSA freshman Kate Beyer said she doesn’t usually have trouble getting on a bus during peak hours during the week, but that she finds it inconvenient to catch a bus on weekends. Beyer said she often has to wait about half an hour to get a bus to Central Campus.
“The weekend is the worst,” she said.
University Transportation representatives said they have recognized the problem with the bus service at night and on the weekends, and while they are currently discussing hypothetical solutions, no changes have been decided yet for the fall.
“We need a bit better bus service on the weekend, and late at night,” said Dave Miller, director of University Transportation.
University Housing spokesman Alan Levy said Housing worked closely with transportation last year, and it plans to work closely again this summer — to better accommodate a North Campus community next year that is expected to be about the same size as this year’s.
“(University) Transportation has been very diligent in tracking numbers and usage patterns this year in planning for the fall,” Levy said.
When the University accepted one of the largest freshman classes in recent history last fall, University Housing was forced to put an additional 400 students on North Campus, Levy said.
With the rapid increase of North Campus residents, working closely with University Housing, University Transportation implemented significant changes in the North Campus bus schedules, Miller said.
The Bursley-Baits bus route went from being published as running every 10 minutes to every five minutes.
“During peak hours it’s often even faster than that,” Miller said, explaining that the University added two extra buses to run during busy times in the morning and afternoon.
Transportation advertises that Bursley-Baits buses run every five minutes from 7:40 a.m. to 5:35 p.m. on weekdays and every 15 minutes outside these times on weekdays. An additional bus route was also added for weekend service, running from Baits to C.C. Little every 20 minutes. Despite these changes, many students still feel that the night and weekend service is inadequate.
“If it’s as much a problem next year as this year, they should implement a change,” Beyer said. She added that an express shuttle from Bursley Residence Hall would be a good idea.
Another concern that students have voiced is overcrowding at the Bursley bus stop in the morning.
Lehnan said he catches the bus at Baits II, rather than trying to fight the crowd at Bursley. He added that he almost missed some of his classes at the beginning of the semester because he was unable to get on a bus in the morning.
The new University buses seat 32 to 39 people — depending on the seat arrangement — and can hold a total of 80 passengers, but some bus drivers still reach maximum capacity and are forced to leave students behind at Bursley, said bus driver Karl Myers.
“I think it’s the students’ fault. They all want to leave at the same time for a 10:00 class. If they were to leave a half hour earlier, they wouldn’t have a problem,” Myers said.
Myers said it is not uncommon to leave anywhere from 20 to 50 students at the Bursley bus stop around 9:30 in the morning.
But because classes start on either the hour or the half-hour, most students need transportation around the same time.
LSA freshman Marina Abayev said she has learned to beat the crowd by leaving either before 9:45 or exactly at 10:00.
“In between, those 15 minutes are insane. There are crowds of people, and it’s totally packed,” Abayev said.
Abayev said that while some of the problem could be avoided by better planning on the students’ behalf, it is unreasonable to assume that everyone will get to his classes a half hour early.
Levy emphasized that University Transportation had shown it was its highest priority to do whatever it can to facilitate getting students to and from their academic locations.
LSA freshman Nick Sherman, a resident of Bursley, said that trying to get on the bus around 8:30 a.m. is not really a problem, and while he might not be able to fit on one bus due to overcrowding, he doesn’t have a problem getting on another one.