Loyola added two shuttles to its intercampus shuttle circulation following a record-breaking upsurge in the student population for the 2018-19 school year. But some students still aren’t satisfied.
Now, 10 shuttles transport students between Loyola’s Lake Shore and Water Tower Campuses, up from last year’s eight. They run from 7 a.m. to midnight on weekdays throughout the school year, according to the Loyola website.
The increase in buses was requested so students could be more comfortable during their commute, according to L.C. Cunningham, 46, who said he’s been a Loyola shuttle driver since 2016.
This year’s first-year class is the largest class on record for a third year in a row, The Phoenix previously reported. Loyola enrolled 2,924 students at the start of this school year, compared to 2,807 in 2017.
Seven shuttles carry 40 passengers and appear similar to transit buses while the three smaller shuttles carry 30 passengers, according to Gretchen Carey, office assistant for the Office of Campus Transportation. The three 30-passenger shuttles are the newest addition to the fleet, Carey said.
Carey said two shuttles are in circulation beginning at 7 a.m., but this builds up to eight shuttles between noon and 5 p.m, with two shuttles acting as spares. Last year, a maximum of six shuttles were in circulation. She added the school usually runs six of the 40-passenger buses and two of 30-passenger buses on a given day.
Afternoons and evenings are the busiest times for the shuttles, according to Cunningham.
Mariana Vaszquez, a sophomore international business major said adding buses is a good idea because it’ll make commutes more efficient.
“My thoughts on the buses is that it’s a good idea because … there are more buses meaning we have more chances to get on it so it’s easier to get to our classes on time,” Vasquez said.
Although Carey said she hasn’t heard complaints about the shuttle system, many students said they’ve been late to class due to traffic or long wait times.
“It’s being late so much,” Martina Valladares, a sophomore studying advertising and public relations, said. “I don’t feel like they’re putting more buses because yesterday it took me like an hour to get to downtown. So the system isn’t really efficient.”
Despite the increase in shuttles, some students have complained the shuttles aren’t reliable.
Junior Lizzie Harth said she waited for 25 minutes for a shuttle so she could get to a class, but the advertising and public relations major eventually had to call an Uber. Tenneng Gitteh, a first-year international student majoring in communication studies, said she waited for a shuttle for 35 minutes and it broke down after arriving. She said she ended up being five minutes late for an exam.
Ally Brand, a junior majoring in business management, said wait times are inconsistent. The shuttles are supposed to run between campuses at 20-minute intervals, according to Loyola’s website. But Brand said the wait time for shuttles is unpredictable because they’re either really short or really long.
“Throughout the day, I feel like it either leaves every 10-15 minutes on the dot or it’s like every 45 [minutes],” Brand said.
Students can check the location and estimated arrival time of shuttles at lucshuttle.com. But some students expressed concern because of arrival times being inaccurate.
“When I’m checking the app, it’s not accurate,” Vallardes said.
Gitteh expressed similar sentiments. She said although she ended up waiting 35 minutes for a shuttle, “it kept saying 11 minutes on the website.”
“I think they have to do something with the website,” Gitteh said. “[It’s] never accurate.”
Carey said she hasn’t heard of students having problems with the app or website, but she suggests refreshing the page often. She said because the times provided are live updates on moving buses, the times often lag.