Change in Orange Shuttle Route Frustrates Students

The orange shuttles started a new route on campus Thursday to accommodate people displaced by construction.

Melissa Johnson, director of Commuter Services, said the bus, which used to run to the Union, now brings students from Peterson Heritage Center to the loop by the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building (SFEBB). The U switched the route because 200 parking stalls by the dorms were closed off to create a new parking garage. With the altered shuttle course, those displaced students can park at the central garage or the LDS Institute garage.

While Johnson said the number of complaints they have received does not compare to the amount who prefer the new destination, students feel differently.

“I mean, how many people does that really affect?” said Caitlin Campbell, a freshman in music and theater.

She has heard many students complaining about the changes and does not understand why construction on upper campus affects the route. She now takes the blue route to get from the dorms to lower campus, and she has noticed more students are boarding the red and blue routes, making them more crowded.

“It seems like there should be other ways to get to the Union,” she said.

Johnson said the route is not a permanent change but will last as long as construction does. Before the garage is completed, she believes there will be additional routes through campus. No plans are definite because they are still gathering data and surveying students.

“We’re trying to figure out where people are coming from and where they ultimately want to be so we can design our shuttle routes,” she said.

There are approximately 43,500 shuttle riders each week. Three of the nine shuttle routes pick up students at the Heritage Center, and Johnson said it is those students this change affects the most. Campbell said it adds an extra 10 minutes for her to get to the Union with the changes.

Josh Johnson, a shuttle driver on the orange route, agrees that the first year students are suffering the most. While he has not seen anyone overly upset, he said a lot of people are frustrated. It shows in the almost-empty shuttles.

Even among the drivers, Johnson said, they are not entirely sure why the change was made. More students want to get to the Union rather than to SFEBB, and the construction does not change that fact.

Johnson points out that one benefit is the shorter route. Students now wait eight minutes to catch an orange shuttle, as opposed to the 15-minute gap the shuttles used to run on. She understands the inconvenience it causes some students but said others are glad for the change.

“We made the change to better serve the entire area,” she said. “Some people are happier. It’s a trade-off, and we realize everybody can’t be completely happy with where the shuttles go.”

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