GREENhopper buses hops across campus

By Michael Logli

Grasshoppers normally have little to do with public transportation, but these cartoon insects represent the new line of buses, the GREENhopper, aimed to make the lives of University students easier.

In August, the Mass Transit District decided to accommodate students who commute to places such as downtown Urbana and downtown Champaign for work, said Jan Kijowski, marketing director for MTD. The result was the creation of the GREENhopper, a new bus line that is similar to the 5 Green and 50 Green bus route, but covers a shorter distance.

The bus runs from 8:30 a.m. to midnight Monday to Friday and 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturday. The GREENhopper arrives at stops every 15 minutes, Kijowski said. This allows for a shorter waiting time with an average of about seven minutes.

“It operates so frequently you don’t have to worry about time anymore,” she said.

Because the GREENhopper covers the same area as the Green line buses, students going downtown can use either one to get where they want to go, she added. However, students who want to go to the areas not covered by the GREENhopper bus must wait for a Green line bus.

The extra buses have created new expenses for MTD to worry about, but these will not affect students, Kijowski said. If the MTD were to make any changes regarding its expenditures, it would happen in August of next year when the budget is considered.

But Kijowski said that the success of the program, which is roughly a 30 percent increase in the amount of use so far, might convince MTD to extend the program to other routes.

“If we have more frequent service people will ride it,” Kijowski said.

Darius Jones, freshman in LAS, said more buses to campus routes may end up forcing buses to run slower because of an increase in congestion. Because Jones uses the buses to reach class every day, he does not want the delay.

“It would be a hassle waiting for a bus, especially if time is a factor,” Jones said.

Melissa Wineinger, junior in ACES, occasionally uses the MTD services, but she said she believes the extra service would be a good idea. More buses would help students to classes faster and reduce late times.

“It would be good for convenience,” Wineinger said.