MTD reduces service, decreases student fee for spring

Students+board+the+9B+Brown+MTD+bus+at+a+stop+on+Wright+St+on+Oct.+4%2C+2019.%0A

Jacob Wargo

Students board the 9B Brown MTD bus at a stop on Wright St on Oct. 4, 2019.

By Payal Rathore, Staff Writer

The C-U Mass Transit District has reduced its services after analyzing the public’s demand, workforce availability and alternate scheduling implemented as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response. Students will receive an appropriate reduction in the transportation fee on behalf of the University.

The MTD reduced its services in March after spring break and maintained “non-UI” service through the remainder of the spring semester. The summer service was as scheduled, and then after additional consultation with the University, they offered a “hybrid” reduced service at the start of the fall semester.

The services were brought down to about 76% of what normally operates on a regular “full-UI” day at the start of the fall semester. At the start of the 2021 spring semester, they will operate about 40% of their normal service.

“Due to the University’s compromised revenue stream, MTD has reduced our service accordingly for the remainder of the academic year,” said Amy Snyder, chief of staff of CUMTD. “We are currently running our ‘non-UI’ reduced service through Jan. 23. Then with the start of the spring semester, MTD will keep these reductions but add back in the full 22/220 Illini at a 20-minute frequency as well as run the full 220 Illini Sunday Evenings. There will continue to be no fixed-route or SafeRides service after (midnight).” 

The University is responsible for adjustments to the transportation fee. For the 2020-2021 academic year, the fees should have been $63 per semester. This was reduced to $50 for the fall, and for the upcoming spring semester the transportation fee will be $23.

When asked about the impact of the reduction of services and revenue on the MTD, Snyder said that this is an incredibly challenging time for the University and for MTD, but they are grateful for a cooperative relationship with the University.

“The loss in revenue is felt, but ultimately, we’re making adjustments,” she said. “Like every essential workforce, we have employees with COVID-related absences including sickness, close contact and childcare issues. So, the reduction in services, combined with our staffing challenges, is balancing things out.” 

MTD received $12 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which has been a “lifeline” to bridge the District’s finances.

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