Crammin’ the Campus Connector

Construction around campus has made it more difficult to catch a ride on the Connector.

Crammin’ the Campus Connector

Nick Sudheimer

With a handful of construction projects around campus in full swing, catching a Campus Connector or Circulator has become harder.

Both divisions of the Campus Shuttle service âÄî the Campus Connector and the Campus Circulator âÄî have seen an increase in the number of complaints. Frequent route changes and overcrowded or late buses are some of the common complaints Parking and Transportation Services has received from riders.

Total annual ridership dropped by about 100,000 from 2009-10 to 2010-11, according to PTS data. Daily ridership on the Washington Avenue Circulator dropped from 2,517 to 1,767 within the same period.

PTS expected more complaints this year due to construction, said Jacqueline Brudlos, PTS spokeswoman.

She said students shouldnâÄôt experience any significant delays if they plan ahead a little.

âÄúI always come extra early because sometimes theyâÄôre extremely packed and you canâÄôt get on,âÄù said Elianne Hark, an economics junior at the University of Minnesota.

Driver Cliff Thorson said heâÄôs heard more students complaining about campus shuttles, but hopes that they realize drivers âÄúcan only do so much.âÄù

âÄúI try to get as many [students on my bus] as I can, but everybodyâÄôs trying to get to the same place at the same time,âÄù Thorson said.

Drivers are supposed to be within five minutes of the bus ahead of them, Thorson said. Construction has made it difficult, but he said he can generally stay within that window.

For Hark, riding the shuttles will still be her go-to mode of transportation.

âÄúA lot of people have been complaining, but for me itâÄôs fine. It gets me as close as it can to where I need to be, and in general, I havenâÄôt been late at all,âÄù Hark said.