Shuttle service connects UI, Chicago campuses


Cameron Krasucki

Students get on an MTD bus at Illini Union. UI Ride will be available starting Oct. 31, and was created to promote collaboration between the University and Chicago campuses.

By Luis Velazquez, Staff Writer

A new shuttle service, UI Ride, will connect the Urbana-Champaign and University System’s Chicago campuses. The service was created for staff, faculty and students to promote more collaboration between the two entities. 

“UI Ride will provide an efficient and convenient mode of transportation for University personnel to conduct official University business and to encourage and facilitate the growing collaborative research endeavors between our Universities,” said Mohamed Attalla, executive director for Facilities & Services at the University, in an email.

The University’s Facilities & Services and the Chicago campus’s Facilities Management will operate this service together. 

Although other transportation methods exist on campus, this system was created for the University of Illinois community.

Rides will be available starting Oct. 31. However, interested riders must start registering Oct. 1. The buses will always leave from the Urbana-Champaign or Chicago campuses. 

All shuttles that will be used for this service are wheelchair accessible and can seat up to 18 passengers. The shuttles will also have free Wi-Fi, comfortable seating, restrooms and a collaborative work space. The buses will allow riders to work while traveling to their destination.

“Pickup and destination locations were designed with University business needs in mind providing direct connections to encourage and facilitate research collaborations,” Attalla said. 

Prices vary for this shuttle service. An employee or student with a valid Net ID would pay $40 for a one way trip and $80 for a round trip. 

Bianca Galvez, sophomore in LAS, was also unaware of this new service and was surprised the University made this decision for both campuses.

“The idea is creative, and it gives an opportunity to work on the go,” Galvez said. “However, I think it is expensive to use this shuttle service. They should give a small discount if anything, because I don’t think anyone would pay unless they really want to.”

Rocco Wlodarek, foreman of the Transportation Facility at the Chicago campus, believes the shuttle service is another access point for students and staff members.

In addition to providing alternative methods of transportation, the shuttles are eco-friendly.

“It was made to have less of a footprint in reducing the number of individual vehicles that are going back and forth to campus with these new buses,” Wlodarek said.

James Wong, co-owner of Peoria Charter, said he was unaware of this new shuttle service on campus. 

“I don’t think it will compete with Peoria Charter at all,” Wong said. “It sounds like they’re not going to any of the destinations that we go to.”

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