During a normal school year, Loyola students have access to the Intercampus Shuttle, which takes them between Lake Shore Campus (LSC) and Water Tower Campus (WTC). For the duration of the spring 2021 semester due to COVID-19, the university decided to shut down its shuttle service, according to university officials.
Now, for the spring semester, students who need to get to WTC or anywhere else downtown must take Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) transportation or pay for other means such as Uber or Lyft.
Gretchen Carey, manager of Loyola’s campus transportation, said the school decided not to run the shuttle service due to the limited number of in-person classes happening on WTC and the fact that no students are being housed at the downtown campus.
Carey said the university is recommending students who have in-person classes at WTC to utilize their U-Pass — a program which gives students an unlimited number of rides aboard all CTA buses and trains for $155 a semester. Both LSC and WTC can be accessed by the 151 bus and the 147 bus and by the Red Line CTA train, according to Carey.
“All the precautions that CTA is taking would have been the same ones Loyola would have taken if the shuttles were running,” Carey said. “Loyola plans to return to normal shuttle operations in fall 2021.”
Kana Henning, associate vice president for Loyola’s facilities department — which maintains campus buildings and grounds — said the intercampus shuttle stopped running last March when most university services went virtual.
“In both the fall and spring semesters, we evaluated the need to reintroduce the shuttle and determined that there was not a sufficient need or demand to do so,” Henning said. “Specific to this spring, all first-year courses that would normally be taught at WTC were intentionally scheduled at LSC.”
Emelia Fuller, a sophomore psychology major, said it was a lot easier and faster to take the shuttle when it was running compared to the CTA. She also said she had a few friends who have taken classes at WTC and who said there was no way they would have arrived on time if it wasn’t for the shuttles.
“If my friends and I were ever downtown at night we would take the shuttle or 8-ride just to avoid the CTA at night,” Fuller said “I was pretty confused as to why they shut it down.”
With the shuttle not running, some students said they’re nervous about using the CTA, especially at night. Since the beginning of 2021, there have been 156 reported crimes on the CTA, according to the Chicago Data Portal.
Alise David, a first-year nursing major, told The Phoenix she thinks not running the shuttle puts students at risk with taking CTA.
“One time on the Red Line, there was a guy that was angry and violent and begging us for food in the middle of the day and I felt threatened,” David, 19, said. “It would have been way safer and way more helpful to have a shuttle going back and forth. It would provide peace of mind to the students and the parents this semester.”
David said if the shuttle was running she would feel safer taking more opportunities to go downtown.
“As a young woman and a new college student in a new city, it’s disturbing and off-putting to take public transport with no other options,” David said.