Mixed emotions ride with students on new routes
New Buff Bus routes came as a surprise to a number of Williams Village and Bear Creek Apartment residents as they headed to the first day of school.
“I got on the bus, and it went to Regent, and I didn’t know that it wasn’t going to stop at the UMC first, so I basically missed my first class,” said Caitlin Baumann, a junior history major and returning resident of Bear Creek Apartments.
Instead of the traditional route of one bus going down Baseline and through main campus, the new routes involve two buses that loop down 30th Street to Regent Drive and Euclid Street/Colorado Avenue in alternating directions.
“Essentially, we changed the route for two reasons,” said Bryan Flansburg, the director of Transportation Services for CU. “One, we avoid a huge amount of traffic by not going down Broadway and Baseline. Secondly, it has a better coverage of campus.”
Prior to this fall, the crosswalk at Regent Drive between main campus and Kittredge made this route impossible; the enormous amount of pedestrian traffic prevented buses from keeping with their schedules.
The Buff Bus now only runs until midnight seven days a week, and begins service at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Students lose the late night service between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m., which used to be provided by the Buff Bus. To make up for the loss, the CU Environmental Center partnered with Boulder’s Special Transit.
“Given the difficult and restructuring budgets at the university, it was best if we expanded the Late Night Transit services in order to cover shortages in the Buff Bus coverage during late night hours,” said City of Boulder Transportation Director Cris Jones.
For students, the difference is that buses regularly used for HOP service will be meeting their late-night transportation needs, instead of the Buff Bus. In another addition, requested stops will likely be more accepted between the hours of 12 a.m. to 3 a.m.
“This hasn’t proven to be a problem in the past because drivers are really effective with communicating with each other,” Jones said.
The student bus and bike programs fee pays for this extra service, which was approved last spring by the Board of Regents.
“A key component to think about is if CU students didn’t pay for this service, the buses would just be sitting in the garage, because the city would not be able to offer that service,” Jones said.
For incoming freshmen, the route changes might seem inconsequential.
“I heard it changed, but have no challenging thoughts. I have nothing to base it on,” said Myles Roth, a freshman political science major living in Stearns East.
Brianna Neuenkirchen, a freshman psychology major in living Stearns West, agreed.
“I mostly just take it to the UMC . . . the two different routes kind of confused me, so I think one direction would probably be better,” Neuenkirchen said.
For some, the sting of change has not yet subsided.
“You don’t even know what loop you’re going to get when you get on,” Baumann said. “And if you got on the wrong one, well, you’re S.O.L. that day.”