New bus routes still a headache for some

University students continue to disagree about the usefulness of changes made to the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District bus system.

Two significant changes include the elimination of the 26 Pack route and the 21 Quad route.

“There have been more complaints this year than last year, but I do attribute that due to the fact that there were changes,” said Jan Kijowski, marketing director for the MTD.

Kijowski said she believes people will like the new system once they get used to it. She said while the 26 Pack no longer exists in name, students can take a variety of buses to get to the same places.

She believes people enjoy the new service because of the amount of riders, recorded by an electronic curtain that counts every time a person steps on a bus.

“Ridership is very robust; I think that’s always a good indicator,” Kijowski said.

Kijowski said she was at FAR/PAR the first two weeks of classes every morning, helping people figure out the new routes.

“The vast majority of the complaints that I heard were because they already knew how the Quad and the Pack operated and didn’t understand how the new routes operated yet,” Kijowski said.

However, not all students agree about the changes’ effectiveness.

Mara Balaci, senior in Business, said she does not like the new bus routes. She said they are confusing and are frequently late because of the added stops.

“I constantly miss it or don’t know when it’s coming and am stuck waiting in the cold,” Balaci said.

In fact, she said she missed class Tuesday because the bus was late.

“I tried to walk but especially now in the winter it’s awful. Living on campus, it’s a half hour walk anyway, so you don’t want to miss the bus,” Balaci said. “It makes me want to drive to class more, but that’s a problem because of parking,”

Balaci suggests making the routes easier to understand.

“Those maps on the Web site are kind of impossible to navigate,” Balaci said.

Talescia Long, senior in ACES, said the new bus routes benefit her greatly.

The old routes were inconvenient for her take to her work, which is by the Ikenberry Commons area.

“I would have to get off here at Transit Plaza, and then connect to another bus to get to my job,” Long said.

With the new routes, Long said she can get to her job using just one bus.

“People just need to get used to it and read the bus schedule,” Long said. “If I don’t know where I’m going I just ask the bus driver.”

Dennis Nelson, senior in Education who lives in Urbana, said the 26 Pack was convenient when he lived in the area commonly called the “six-pack” freshman and sophomore years. However, at his current residence, the change does not affect him greatly.

“There was the 6 pack in the name, and the Quad was in the name, so it’s convenient for that aspect,” he added.

Although he said he misses the idea of the 26 Pack, he does not think the new bus names should be too hard to figure out.

“If you’re coming in as a freshman and you get on the Teal, you’re going to figure out the Teal routes,” Nelson said. Brittany Sims, freshman in DGS who lives in Weston Hall, said she did not have trouble learning the new bus system.

“After you’ve been here awhile you start to learn which bus gets you where and which bus gets you there the fastest,” she added. “It’s really easy. If you just read the bus schedule, then you’ll get it.”