MTD makes service reductions, faces staff shortages

An+MTD+bus+drives+down+a+street+for+line+13+Silver.+The+MTD+is+short+staffed+creating+service+reductions.+

Photo Courtesy of Autumn Soliman

An MTD bus drives down a street for line 13 Silver. The MTD is short staffed creating service reductions.

By Weiyu Ding, Contributing Writer

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District made service reductions on Oct. 4 due to staff shortages. The reductions will likely continue through the spring semester, according to Amy Snyder, Chief of Staff at MTD.

Snyder said in an email that they released information on the route update on its website on Oct. 1.

Snyder said that MTD wants to prevent frequency reductions as much as possible to a certain degree by pulling trips as needed based on operator availability.

“Unfortunately when we designed this concept we didn’t plan for the Delta variant of COVID-19 and its associated complications,” Snyder said.

She said the lack of qualified operators has caused many challenges to their work, so that many employees have to go to work on rest days.

“Our customer service representatives are taking longer on their calls to help passengers adjust and plan new trips — every employee feels the impacts and desperately wants to deliver the best possible service to our customers,” Snyder said.

She said that the addition of new operators will hopefully help MTD reduce daily absences and return to normal frequencies as soon as possible.

In order to accurately reflect the journey as much as possible, Snyder noted that MTD has updated all digital tools — online Trip Planner tool, route schedules on MTD’s website and travel information displayed in third-party apps.

“This means students, faculty, and staff can rely on these tools, along with electronic passenger information kiosks and real-time departure information, to plan their trips and check up-to-the minute departure times,” Snyder said.

Lowa Mwilambwe, associate vice chancellor for Auxiliary, Health & Wellbeing of Student Affairs, said in an email that the customer feedback the University has received has been “positive, affirming, and understanding,” and they will report to MTD if there is any negative feedback. 

“We have more students on campus this year,” Mwilambwe said. “Reducing frequencies is the very last thing MTD wants to do and they are working hard to fulfill their service obligation.” 

Yumeng Cao, a sixth-year graduate Engineering student, who often takes the MTD bus, felt that the overall impact is not great, mainly due to the convenience of living and transportation. 

“A few days ago, I went to a place which is south of the school, and then the ninth bus was five minutes late,” Cao said. ”The time used to be very punctual. So I think this may be the impact of the MTD reduction service on me.”

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