MTD sees reduction in summer service

For many students, riding the bus is a part of daily life.

The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District provides service throughout the community and campus, but as activity in the University district slows down for summer, MTD service has as well.

During the school year, the 21 Quad, 26 Pack and 22 Illini traverse campus, with the 22 Illini providing service late into the night. Community buses such as the 50 Green provide late-night service between downtown Champaign and Urbana during the during the fall and spring semesters, said Tom Costello, assistant managing director for the MTD. The SafeRides van program also provides night-time service to parts of campus not served buses.

“I didn’t realize [the buses] stopped running until the first night when I tried to take them, even though it still seemed like there were a lot of people around,” said D.A. Thomas, a graduate student.

Thomas rides the 50 Green on a daily basis, and has had to find alternate transportation in the last few weeks.

“Getting around has been kind of a problem … it’s been especially difficult to get to the ARC (Activities and Recreation Center),” he said. Thomas does not own a car, so he has been walking around campus and the community instead of taking the bus.

For Costello and the MTD, the summer service reductions simply make sense.

“We go from having about 40,000 students to around 9,000 in the summer. Due to the structure of student fees, we provide the most service when the most people are here,” Costello said.

Although campus and late-night service has been reduced, Costello pointed out that the MTD’s other community routes do not change during the summer, and students can still use their I-cards to ride for free.

“It isn’t as though we take the summer off. We’re scrambling to get ready for the new campus routes in the fall,” he said.

The MTD has considered providing summer service on campus in the past, but ultimately decided against it. SafeRides service has been offered in the past, but it was ultimately decided that ridership did not justify continuing it.

“The usage just wasn’t worth it,” Costello said.

Some riders in the community echoed Costello’s comments. For Blake Morphew, summer campus service reductions have not been an issue.

“I don’t think it really affects people in the community much,” he said. “I work in the biology department and just ride the bus to work in the morning, so I haven’t had a problem.”