C-U MTD adapts to harsh winter road conditions

By Lauren Mangurten

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit district adapted to winter weather to ensure the smooth operation of buses and the safety of students.

Tom Costello, assistant managing director at C-U MTD, said that the snowstorm last week led the buses to alter their routes, when early-morning patrols of the streets deemed some routes unsafe. Costello said the buses could travel on campus streets most efficiently since the campus streets experience more traffic.

Costello also said it was good students could take the buses last week to avoid walking in the streets. He said bus stops were shoveled by Thursday.

Given the weather, Costello said C-U MTD tried to keep the buses on time to the best of their abilities.

“When we’ve got weather like this, there are bound to be delays,” Costello said.

The snow makes for difficult routes for the bus drivers, who battle the weather while most people are inside, Costello said.

The C-U MTD also has to adapt to increased numbers of students riding the bus in the winter.

Costello said the buses do not have maximum capacities. On days when the buses are crowded, he said students can help by moving as far back as they can to make room for others.

Matt Vivona, sophomore in Engineering, rides the 22 Illini a few times a week and said the 22 Illini is so crowded during the winter that the passengers are packed together.

Drivers ask students to move as far back as possible on crowded days so they do not have to turn students away. Students are not allowed to stand in front of the line on the floor near the driver’s seat because they may impede the driver’s view.

“It seems like some bus drivers are a little more strict about (people standing in front of the line) than others,” said Garrett Sidor, sophomore in LAS, who rides the 22 Illini every day.

In reference to capacity issues, Costello said, “We add buses to routes every day.”

Costello said it becomes a question for C-U MTD of how many buses to add.

C-U MTD runs buses double the length on the 21 Quad, 26 Pack, and 13 Silver routes to accommodate more passengers and help the routes run more efficiently.

Jennifer Matesi, a sophomore in Applied Health Sciences, said when the 26 pack is crowded, the longer bus is able to accommodate the number of passengers.

“The buses get packed a lot, and they are not always on time, but they are still better than walking in (the winter),” Vivona said.