Hike service

Orange Line service increases amid student discontent

UR Transportation added service to the Orange Line for the second time this semester this week, running buses all day and closing the previous five-hour service gap.

At the start of the semester, only five runs ran on weekday mornings—10 after 4:30 p.m.—connecting students residing in downtown Rochester to campus. Now, 27 rides run from 7 a.m. until after midnight, providing Innovation Square residents with a constant connection to River Campus. The increase in service comes as students struggled to use the bus to get from off-campus locations to UR.

The orange line covers the southeast quadrant of Rochester, swinging toward the Park Ave neighborhood. before stopping downtown and then returning to campus. The route has been around for some time and is geared toward commuters, but from 7 November the afternoon service void was filled allowing the Orange Line to operate all day.

Prior to all-day Orange Line service, students often rode the Red Line to Eastman and then walked to Innovation Square. Transportation officially added an Orange Line stop at Innovation Square in fall 2021 after some UR students moved into the building.

The University has started renting space within Innovation Square for the 2022-23 academic year, filling two floors with approximately 50 students. Students on UR floors are in “on-campus” residential living contracts despite living downtown. The accommodation contract guarantees student transport to move between Innovation and the River Campus.

However, the start of the fall 2022 semester saw the Orange Line overwhelmed, as five morning buses were not enough to meet the demand of students traveling to campus. The bus often filled beyond capacity, frequently leaving students behind downtown, creating what one student called a “Hunger Games-like situation.”

“I call it Hunger Games-esque because, I guess, I’m just worried about missing the bus or like it’s full, and I’m not getting on,” senior Daniel Semphere said in October after the first raise on duty. “As the bus gets closer, you can clearly see a change in people’s body language. They scan the intersection to see if it’s turning or not. bus.

Even after nearly doubling the morning bus schedule from five trips to nine, several people told the CT that students were still sometimes left behind by Innovation.

“They have the biggest buses that they send during the night when no one is using them and they don’t send them in the morning for the orange line, which is crazy for me because there are always 50 people waiting for the bus” , junior Mila Bologna told the CT end of October. “And then they’ll bring out the tiny little baby bus they have, and it’ll be, like, standing room only. And then, you know, five people will be left with no way to get to campus, which I don’t think if you have a required course is good for you.

“It’s really frustrating that the 9:15 a.m. bus that goes through Erie Harbor is full every day because a lot of students have 9:40 a.m. [a.m.] classes,” said Senior Andrei Blanton. “And so there’s always a crowd of students there standing and waiting and it just passes and it says bus full,” Andrei Blanton said. “Why do they even have this stop listed if it literally never comes?”

A 9:55 bus, crowded on October 17. Photo by Daniel Semphere.

Some students, including junior petition author Sebastian Xu – who created a change.org petition calling for increased shuttle capacity in the mornings and increased service throughout the day – have even occasionally visited Uber on campus to get to class on time. Students in Erie Harbour, another popular off-campus residential area, often found themselves without bus service as buses filled up before arriving in Erie Harbour.

Xu’s petition has collected over 200 signatures and has been forwarded to Dean Runner and other administrators.

“Once I became aware of the issue, I contacted Anne-Marie Algier (WCSA), Dan Watts (ResLife), Jim Chodak (Parking) and John Hain (Eastman) to discuss options,” said runner at CT by email. “Ultimately, I reached out to David Figlio (Provost) and Joan Saab (Dean of the Faculty of AS&E) to get their support for adding a bus line. Funding will come from the College. Once As we complete a review of all routes, with better ridership information, we can better understand how costs might be allocated in the future.

On October 10, UR Transportation launched a second morning shuttle on the Orange Line that operates between 7:30 a.m. and 10:45 p.m., giving the route increased capacity in the morning. The additional morning shuttle increases the frequency of the orange line to 10 morning trips before 11:15 a.m., compared to only five at the start of the semester.

Going forward, Runner said he hopes to further examine the use of buses and see if any other changes need to be made to UR’s shuttle system.

“I would like to see us review all routes, to better accommodate the needs of College students living off campus and Eastman and College students who need to travel

between campuses for classes and other activities,” said Dean Runner. “In the meantime, this additional bus route will hopefully relieve congestion in the system.”

The Orange Line will now operate:

  • Monday to Friday – non-stop from 7:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.
  • Saturday – 9:00 a.m. to 1:25 a.m.
  • Sunday – 9 a.m. to 10:35 p.m.