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Students struggle with relaxed shuttle bus schedules, capacity limits due to COVID-19

Bus shuttle adjusts to UTM reading week schedule despite classes continuing at UTSG
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The shuttle bus stop. MURA J. HEMMADI/THE VARSITY
The shuttle bus stop. MURA J. HEMMADI/THE VARSITY

As campus bus shuttles running from UTM to UTSG have implemented new regulations due to the pandemic, students have been struggling to adjust to the updated schedules and new limitations. 

Each bus now has a capacity limit of 12 people. Students must also show a negative UCheck result and wear a mask before they board the bus. The shuttle bus schedule also changes during reading weeks, summer, and exam seasons despite the fact that the timelines of the two campuses don’t always match up.

Students have expressed confusion over social media about whether the buses are even running this year, and some have noted that the information available online about them appears to be missing clear details. UTSG students have also had a hard time finding how much it would cost to take the shuttle to UTM, since they don’t qualify for a free fare. 

In an email to The Varsity, Rayyan Kahloon, a third-year computer science student, reinforced this sentiment, writing that the shuttle bus procedure for reading week “was pretty chaotic.” Kahloon takes the bus three times a week to attend some in-person courses at UTSG. 

Kahloon recounted a time when he took the subway home because 25 people were waiting for the bus. If he had decided to take the bus, he would have had to wait another 90 minutes for the next bus because of the bus capacity limits. 

Moreover, the bus schedules changed for UTM’s reading week, which does not coincide with UTSG’s, meaning that Kahloon had to continue attending classes with a different bus schedule. Consequently, at one point, he spent an hour waiting for a bus that never came. Though he waited for the next bus, he wasn’t able to get on because it could only take a certain number of students.

“I essentially missed my entire day since I wasn’t going to stay for the 30 remaining minutes of class and deal with the shuttle ride home,” Kahloon wrote. He experienced the same problem on the two other days he had to go to class that week. He would arrive at the bus stop only to find the bus already full.

Ultimately, Kahloon paid to take the TTC, which has a longer commute time. 

In response to The Varsity’s inquiry about these issues, a representative for the UTM shuttle bus system wrote that while the bus follows UTM’s academic schedule, they make every effort to accommodate as many community members as possible. They also noted that the feedback received from reading week will be taken into consideration when they are planning future schedules during reduced service periods.