In comparison with the infamous Red Line, the Loyola intercampus shuttle may seem rather tame, but some students also said the seemingly innocent shuttle possesses the power to fuel nightmares.
“I’m terrified to stand on it,” Ava Daugherty, a first-year studying communications, said.
Her fear stems from an incident she experienced on the shuttle last semester.
While driving on Lake Shore Drive, a car swerved in front of the shuttle and randomly braked, Daugherty said. The shuttle driver responded by swiftly slamming on the brakes in return. Daugherty was the only person standing, and, with no one around her, she said the rapid halt launched her stumbling toward the front of the shuttle.
Luckily, with the help of the shuttle’s “weird bars” and “a little bit of camaraderie” from her seated peers, Daugherty said she was able to regain her balance.
The shuttle’s environment and passenger quantity varies drastically depending on the time of day, whether it’s the first departure from Lake Shore Campus (LSC) and Water Tower Campus (WTC) at 7 a.m. or its final departure from both campuses at 12:10 a.m.
In the mornings, students stand groggy-eyed at the LSC shuttle stop waiting for the shuttle to transport them downtown.
Students are often forced to stand during the shuttle’s busier hours, Agatha Jancourt, a first-year studying neuroscience, said. “I get there early, so I can get a seat.”
“Standing on the shuttle is so unenjoyable, it might be a 20-minute ride, but when you’re standing it feels like an hour-and-a-half,” Cirese Mendolia, a first-year marketing major, said.
Although Daugherty said she was shown compassion by her peers, Colleen Keohane, a first-year studying psychology, said the passengers she encountered were not very considerate.
After an accident left Keohane with crutches, a boot on her foot and no sense of balance, she said, “I got on the shuttle assuming someone would let me sit in a chair, and no one did.”
Keohane said she stood during the shuttle’s half-hour trip as she struggled to maintain footing.
“I was silently fuming,” she said. “My leg hurt.”
Keohane said the university should do more for students who are handicapped and travel on the shuttle, such as handicapped-designated seats.
“Priority seating is designated at the front of each shuttle,” Gretchen Carey, Manager of Loyola Campus Transportation, wrote in an email to The Phoenix. “We ask the Loyola community be mindful of this and keep these seats clear for those who need them.”
Ben Watkins, a first-year communication studies major, took the shuttle at the beginning of the school year but has since used the L as his primary transportation method.
“I started taking the train just because I felt like it was more peaceful,” Watkins said. The shuttle’s long wait times and delays were also a problem, he said, but Mendolia recounted a time when the wait ended up being worthwhile.
On a frigid Thursday night around 10 p.m. Mendolia was waiting at the Lake Shore shuttle stop. After the shuttle had remained stagnant at the drop-off location by the West Quad for what seemed like “forever,” she said she wondered, “Why is the shuttle taking so long?” When the shuttle arrived, she received her long-awaited answer.
“Sister Jean was all strapped in right there,” Mendolia said. “I literally got on the bus, and I stopped for a second and had a fangirl moment. I sat as close as I could to her because I thought it was like sitting next to a celebrity, honestly.”
The moment was particularly special for Mendolia, who works at a retirement center back home.
“I have never seen someone quite as old as Sister Jean,” Mendolia said. “She’s just lived such a long and cool life, and she’s still doing exactly what she wants to do. That’s awesome.”
The university describes the Loyola intercampus shuttle as “a supplemental transportation service available for current Loyola University Chicago students, faculty and staff.” However, not all students feel comfortable using the CTA as their primary transportation service, despite their many issues with the shuttle.
“I’m so scared of the Red Line,” Mendolia said.
Jancourt said she feels like the shuttle is her only option because she has night classes at the Water Tower Campus.
Mendolia and Jancourt said adding more shuttles to the route could help improve their shuttle experiences and solve issues surrounding overcrowding, standing and long wait times.
“If I’m caught standing on the shuttle, I’m walking back to Lake Shore campus,” Daugherty said.