New bus routes provide for easier commute for students

Brianne Rasmussen

Like many University student commuters, Bridget Kromhout had trouble finding a parking spot close to her classes and her job.
But when she discovered Metro Transit’s new 101 bus route, her commuting problem was solved.
The bus route is one of two new lines added this fall by Metro Transit in cooperation with the University. Students using the new routes will have a chance to shop at the Quarry shopping center or park free at the Rosedale and Maplewood malls and take the bus to the Minneapolis campus.
The idea for the new routes came last spring when the University and Metro Transit met and decided what areas most needed direct service to campus.
The 101 route is perfect for Kromhout since the computer science senior’s job is en route to the Quarry, she lives in Prospect Park, and she attends the University — the three main areas the bus route covers.
“I’m really happy about it,” she said.
The second route added for students and staff is 52R, an express route from the Roseville area that makes only two trips to campus in the morning and two back to the malls in the evening.
Maria Cone, a marketing representative from Metro Transit, said the two new routes are “demonstration routes,” which will run through spring semester before they decide whether to keep the lines permanent.
Lisa Raduenz from LJR, Inc., the transportation and consulting service for the University and Metro Transit, said since the lines are covering two completely new areas, no specific ridership figures have been set in order to keep both lines running.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
In order to do her part to ensure the bus line will stay, Kromhout rides the 101 several times a day, even though it does not go all the way to the Quarry in the morning, requiring her to transfer busses to get to work.
Raduenz said route 101 was designed to offer students who live nearby a ride to campus in the winter, and to give students who live on campus a way to get to the Quarry.
The bus schedule was devised in an attempt to discourage students from parking at the Quarry and taking the bus to campus.
“The 101 is for students who live on campus and need to go shopping, or who want to work at the Quarry,” Cone said. “The Quarry does not have the facilities for a Park and Ride.”
Over all, Kromhout is pleased with the new route.
“It’s the perfect bus ride,” she said.
Juliet Zawislak, however, is a little disappointed with the 52R.
Zawislak, a College of Liberal Arts freshman, parks at Rosedale Mall and rides the bus to campus. Since the bus schedule is so limited, she only takes it twice a week, driving to campus the other three days.
“It’s inconvenient depending on the time of your classes,” she said.
Schedules for both routes are available online and posted in the West Bank skyway.