UNC students returning to campus worry about reduced Chapel Hill Transit services
Posted June 30, 2020 6:00 p.m. EDT
Updated June 30, 2020 6:54 p.m. EDT
Chapel Hill, N.C. — College students returning to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall could see some major delays as they commute to campus for classes.
Chapel Hill Transit has enforced a maximum 10 person per ride rule, and that limit, students say, will slow them down as they prepare to navigate the new school year.
Many students who live on and off campus, especially those who live farther south near the Rams Village Apartments said catching a bus was already a hassle. They believe bus capacity caps will make it even more difficult.
Chapel Hill Transit has operated with reduced capacity of 10 people per bus for a month now to ensure social distancing.
“If I have an 8 a.m. (class), I’m going to have to start lining up at 4:30 in the morning,” said Hannah Wondmagegn, a UNC senior.
Wondmagegn lived on south campus for three years, and she said the transit change complicates an already stressful situation.
“ I’m going to probably have to invest in Ubers a lot more than I’m comfortable with because a) the pandemic and also b) I don’t really have money,” she said.
According to its website, Chapel Hill Transit plans to offset the reduced number of riders with more buses.
“This apartment, I deliberately chose it because it had a consistent bus system," said senior Ruth Samuel. "Now hearing that it may not be as consistent as we thought … "
Not only will capacity limits impact students, Samuel said, it will impact Chapel Hill residents as a whole. From the traffic, to getting groceries, running errands and more.
“Essentially one of the questions that we’re all asking is, if we have to go through all of these lengths just to kind of make sure we’re quote unquote safe, then should we even be reopening,” she asked.
“I completely understand that it’s necessary for safety to be able to limit people on the buses like that but at what point is this all worth it,” Wondmagegn said.