Campus, News

Students express frustration with BUS

Recent cold weather has prompted students to complain more than usual about the BU Bus delays. PHOTO BY KYRA LOUIE/DAILY FREE PRESS CONTRIBUTOR
Recent cold weather has prompted students to complain more than usual about the BU Bus delays. PHOTO BY KYRA LOUIE/DAILY FREE PRESS CONTRIBUTOR

Several Boston University students are concerned with the effectiveness of the BU Shuttle, one of the primary transportation services students utilize on campus.

Though students said they were glad the resource existed at BU, many said they were frustrated with the shuttle’s shortcomings.

“On a busy day, it can be pretty overcrowded,” said Jonathan Smith, a College of General Studies freshman. “I’ve actually seen some kids have to be turned away from the bus because they can’t fit on.”

Kiersten Utegg, a sophomore in the College of Communication, has garnered over 500 signatures for a petition on advocating the BUS double the buses running at peak hours to ensure that the BUS commute is “more safe, more accessible, and more efficient” for BU students.

Smith also said the BUS should expand the range of services it offers.

“There are many times during the week where I feel like there are many people who would benefit from taking the bus but the bus isn’t running, such as weekends during the day,” he said.

Gabriela Lopez, a senior in Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said she found the BU app that tracks the buses problematic.

“The app doesn’t work very well so you never know when it’s going to come,” she said. “It always updates at random times. I feel like I’m always waiting more than I should, because it should come every 10 or 20 minutes.”

Students also said there was a discrepancy between the officially stated purpose of the BU Shuttle and the role students expect it to play.

“The primary purpose of the weekday BU Shuttle is to provide a convenient form of transportation to and from the Charles River and Medical campuses,” said William Hajjar, the director of BU Parking and Transportation Services. “Its secondary or ancillary purpose is to provide intra-campus transportation service on the Charles River campus to those students living in university residence halls at the extreme ends of campus.”

Students expressed some confusion about the BU Shuttle’s role on campus.

“Most students use it for Commonwealth Avenue,” said Nabeel Nissar, a CGS freshman. “It takes more than 30 minutes to walk from one end of campus to the other. The distances are so long on Commonwealth Avenue, you always have to judge whether or not to wait. There’s always that unexpected uncertainty.”

Students said they were concerned about the shuttle arriving on time.

“There are a number of factors within an urban environment that may delay shuttles from being timely at any point in the day,” Hajjar said. “These factors range from construction projects, inclement weather, accidents or other issues which create traffic along the shuttle routes.”

Student Body President Dexter McCoy said the bus’ tendency to arrive behind schedule is a relatively unavoidable problem.

“The bigger issue is that buses are overcrowded when students get on in the morning to go to class,” McCoy, a College of Communication senior, said. “We desperately need more extra-long buses during the morning commute to alleviate the congestion students experience.”

Hajjar said the BUS sees a large volume of riders on weekday mornings.

“There are more than 130 classes that start at 8 a.m., during our peak service times,” he said. “There are more than 5,000 students in those classes, and other students, faculty and staff may be attempting to get on the shuttle at this time as well from West campus.”

McCoy said some issues students have with the BUS are inevitable.

“I do believe there are problems with the BU Shuttle, but not all of them are problems that can necessarily be solved,” McCoy said. “These include buses that are late because of traffic and accidents.”

Students said they understood that some of the difficulties the BUS faces are largely inescapable.

“I know [delays] have to do a lot with traffic,” said Maria Gonzalez, a College of Arts and Sciences senior. “You can’t do much about it.”


  1. This article doesn’t even mention the Boston University Theatre on Huntington Avenue. It’s between the main Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus. Several hundred students use it several times a day. I usually have to go at least twice a day. I feel like we’re being ignored. If it weren’t for the BUS, I’d have to spend about $8 every day to get to and from there. And this article doesn’t mention the medical students, either. I disagree with this article. The purpose of the shuttle isn’t for students to ride from St. Mary’s to Blanford. The purpose is to make the other parts of BU that aren’t on campus more available to us.

    • Hi Abe!

      I’m writing an article about BU Shuttle Safety and I see you have a positive outlook on the shuttle service. Do you think you will be willing to meet for a brief interview?


  2. I have used the bus several times a week, all year, since it started and except for a few problems once in a while which I have reported directly to the appropriate people, the bus is a great service. It is a door to door, free bus service. You don’t know how good you have it.

  3. CRC Faculty and CRC Staff also ride it to get to the Medical Campus for workshops, seminars, and appointments. The app is very unreliable. For such a large campus, we need more buses during peak hours. Please add more buses during 730-5 pm. Thank you.

  4. Personally, I greatly appreciate that the bus has been made available to me. In addition to these buses, I have the option of taking public transportation if needed. I feel as though there are a lot of spoiled students whining that this gift that is being offered is not enough. Suck it up and walk if you don’t like waiting! That will help with the obesity issue in this country.

  5. I go to the Boston University Theater on Huntington Avenue, and we have some issues with the shuttle. We have to spend a lot of time going back and forth between the CFA and theater… having the shuttle is the only way we can keep up with this because walking is often not an opption based on time and safety, and the tram gets expensive fast. While it is good that we have the shuttle during the week, we get cut off at a certain time of night and on weekends. Unlike most college experinces, ours often doesn’t end late at night or on the weekends. Especially the weekends. We often have call early in the morning till late at night during weekends at the theater, and we have to take the tram because the shuttle doesn’t include us. I think this can be a serious issue because there are a lot of students trying to get back and forth… it is not a short distance, and it is not a necessarily safe walk. I think that while during the week, the unreliability of the shuttle might be unavoidable, it should definitely extend it’s range to the theater on the weekend. We CFA theater students get forgotten about often, but there are a lot of us, and we need these services more than most. It’s not really optional for us. I think this should be taken into account.