Fall semester brings service reductions, fresh look for MTD

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Mark Capapas

The 130N Silver stops at the Illini Union on Sunday. MTD implemented multiple adjustments in response to COVID-19.

By Diana Anghel, Assistant News Editor

COVID-19 has prompted several major adjustments for Champaign-Urbana’s bus system.

Riders may have already noticed how boarding now occurs in the middle door of buses for those who don’t need to use the accessibility ramp.

However, on Friday, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District reduced its route schedule for some campus and late night routes, in direct response to pandemic ridership.  

“The decision was made after extensive analysis of service demand, workforce availability, and new demands related to adequate COVID-19 pandemic response,” the MTD news release reads. 

During the weekdays and weekends, the 22/220 Illini will run on a 20 minute frequency schedule instead of the usual 10 minute frequency. All late night routes will end shortly before or after 1 a.m. both on weekends and weekdays. 

During fall and winter breaks, MTD will extend their reductions and decrease more routes’ frequencies. All changes can be found on their website. 

MTD has continued to take steps towards preventing the virus from spreading and encouraging social distancing. Fare collection and pass validation have been suspended to avoid the exchange of cash and transfers. Larger vehicles have been put to use to encourage social distancing by passengers. Additional buses have been placed around the community for backup to prevent capacity issues. 

MTD is also installing hand sanitizer dispensers on each bus and van, and it provides its employees with face coverings. Buses are fully sanitized each night. 

Two iStops —  where riders do not have to pay a fare or show any sort of pass or ID — were added along White Street and Research Park for the fall semester. 

“UIUC Learn to Ride” was created with an interactive map for those looking to learn bus routes and get familiar with iStops. The website also has a video serving as digital orientation to MTD’s service. 

As this year marks the 50th anniversary of MTD’s service, a new logo has been created. 

“To commemorate half a century of service, we gave our brand a minor facelift, complete with a new logo and tagline, an update to our website, a new design for our eleven incoming 2020 buses, as well as refreshed uniforms, bus stop signs, and shelter boards,” the website reads. 

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