U rolls out more buses at Huron lots

Jason Juno

University student Rachel Lyness said she arrives at the Huron Boulevard Parking Complex by or before 9:30 a.m. for a class on the East Bank that starts after 10 a.m.

Usually, there are approximately 50 people waiting for a Campus Connector at the eastern end of the parking lot, she said.

Buses pass as she waits, already full with people from St. Paul campus stops. If they do stop to let someone off, there is still no room for the people waiting, Lyness said.

This semester, Parking and Transportation Services started to offer more buses for those waiting for a ride at the Huron parking lots, said Mary Sienko, marketing manager for the department.

The buses run between the Huron parking lots and Blegen Hall from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, Sienko said.

This is not a guaranteed service, though, as the buses could be redirected to other areas, she said. The morning hours are the only time when demand is high enough to put the extra buses on the road, Sienko said. They use regularly sized Campus Connectors, she said.

But the transportation department is watching the bus route constantly, Sienko said.

“It’s really fluid. In a week or two, it might not be that bad,” she said.

The buses are marked with signs that read they go as far as the Huron lots and stop at the same places as the typical Campus Connectors throughout the East and West banks.

Parking and Transportation Services added the buses to maintain its promise of a connector arriving every five minutes, Sienko said.

She said that if the buses coming from St. Paul are full, “In essence, we’re not serving our customers.”

This is why the addition is necessary, Sienko said.

Lyness, who commutes from White Bear Lake, Minn., said she has used the additional buses, which pick up the approximately 50 people waiting.

“Sometimes, it’s quicker to walk, but I’m not walking in this cold,” Lyness said as clouds of breath formed above her scarf.

She said she always starts the approximately 30-minute drive from home early enough because she knows how busy the buses can be.

Lyness said this makes for a long commute to school.