A closer look at UMass Lowell’s transportation options

Emma Hargraves
Connector Contributor

Various methods of transportation for navigating campus exist, but it can often be confusing as to which one is best for students.

“Usually I’ll just use my car,” said commuter Manuel Garcia. He said he has had his car on campus since freshman year. “I’ve taken the bus one time.” Garcia noted that he is unfamiliar with the bus routes so that one time he accidentally ended up at Inn and Conference Center downtown instead of his destination.

For the most part, many students say they utilize the buses when convenient but otherwise walk or drive. Catherine Ozek, a resident of Sheehy Hall, said that she has all her classes on South Campus, so she walks. Ozek’s friends who have classes on North Campus usually take the shuttle either to North Campus or to University Crossing.

Many students use the RoadsterRoutes app as a convenient way to see in real time if the bus you need is near them. “If you miss the bus then you spend another five, 10, 15 minutes waiting for the next bus,” said commuter Joshua Gwan.

Others said the bus system has its own problems. “You never know if it’s going to be late,” said Brittany Dauphinais, a resident of Leitch “If you’re walking you know exactly how long it takes to get there.”

Jordan Jutras, a resident of University Suites, said that “walking would be much faster to go to South [from East Campus].”

“If you’re on a time crunch and if there’s a bus on your Roadster [app] nowhere near your campus, I would probably say to walk [is the most convenient],” said Ozek. She said that it depends on the time of day in terms of rush hour because the busses tend to slow down.

Garcia said that he usually walks from North Campus to South Campus. He said the walk is “not bad…I could take the bus if I wanted to but [I walk] just to get some exercise.”

Dauphinais said that walking is the most convenient way to get around campus but added that some people skateboard, longboard or bike since “wheels are obviously going to be faster than walking.”

In addition to UMass Lowell’s buses or walking, students are now able to utilize the Lowell Regional Transit Authority and the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority bus systems. A UMass Lowell transportation services employee, AJ Pellegrino, said that many students are taking advantage of this option.

Cody Richards, an off-campus resident, said that the LRTA has an application similar to RoadsterRoutes called LRTA Bus Tracker. Richards said that there is an online live link available too that tends to work better.

Additionally, Pellegrino said that the BikeShare program is also very popular. It is free and offers multiple locations all around campus for students to get bikes with repair stations as well.

UMass Lowell has also teamed up with Zipcar, a car sharing program. Pellegrino said the University has eight to 10 Zipcars available in the garages, and one car costs $15 for students instead of the normal $25. Users get 180 miles and gas is included for only $7 an hour, Pellegrino said. “I’m always seeing people using them,” he said.

In regards to driving around campus, Gwan pointed out that it takes him 15 to 20 minutes to clear Wilder Street on South Campus at rush hour. “It’s definitely a problem,” he said.

To get downtown on weekends, many students use Uber or Lyft, the ridesharing applications. Pellegrino said occasionally students Uber between campuses because it only costs roughly $2.75 to get from South Campus to East Campus.

Overall, the transportation options for students has its kinks, but the university and the city are always making changes and improvements. With the lease ending on East Meadow Lane Apartments, the Green line will be eliminated before next semester.

“They’re doing what they can, and it works,” said Pellegrino.

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