Several changes have been made to Senate and Exchange bus operations this semester. The 77 Mass. Avenue stop has been moved to 84 Mass. Ave. and the stop on the corner of Mass. Ave. and Commonwealth Avenue has been moved to 45 Mass. Ave. and Boylston Street. Additionally, bus drivers will only accept tokens, individual tickets or punch passes for bus fare and will no longer accept cash. The Exchange Bus will still be free and the Senate Bus fare remains $3.
The MBTA station at Mass. Ave. and Commonwealth Ave. where the bus used to stop was moved forward by the city to Mass. Ave. and Boylston Street. The corner at Mass. Ave. and Comm. Ave is now a bike lane and the bus cannot legally stop there. Last semester, the bus attempted to continue stopping in this space but Boston police were ticketing drivers for moving violations.
The bus now stops at the MBTA station in front of Marlboro Market on 45 Mass. Ave. and Boylston Street. The bus cannot legally park and wait for students at this stop and students must be ready and waiting at the curb. Marlboro Market will sell individual Senate Bus tickets.
The 77 Mass. Ave stop was moved to 84 Mass. Ave. after the city of Cambridge moved the old bus stop. The Senate and Exchange stops are now at the curb before the light and crosswalk. Students must also be ready at the curb be- cause the bus cannot legally park in this area.
“Changing our stops is always challenging as students are so familiar and used to them. We try to avoid making these changes at any cost but sometimes our hands are forced. That truly was the case this time,” Peter Eastment, director of the department of faculty housing and transportation said.
Freeman Senator Soobean Jo ’19 raised concerns on behalf of her constituents at Senate. Her constituents were frustrated with the lack of communication between transportation services and Wellesley students.
“[The changes to] the bus stops were not relayed to students in any manner, other than to those who were on the bus on the first day of the change,” Jo said. “Since then, it has been unclear as to where the new bus stops are, if some stops have been taken out, and the times of those stops.”
Julia Chmyz ’17 was also displeased with the lack of communication.
“They should have told us they were changing [the stops] before they started instituting the changes,” Chmyz said. In addition to the stop changes, bus drivers are no longer accepting cash for bus fare.
“When we publish the start of fall semester transportation schedule, it includes a reminder that all students need to present a token, ticket or punch pass as they board our buses,” Eastment said. While drivers have always technically been allowed to accept only tokens, individual tickets or punch passes, in the past they have allowed students to pay with cash in order to be accommodating.
“They do not want to turn the student away but allowing them to board at no charge creates issues with others in line who are presenting tickets, tokens or punch passes,” Eastment said.
Tokens are available in two machines on campus at the Lulu Campus Center and Stone Davis, and punch passes are sold at the Wellesley College Bookstore and the Leaky Beaker. Individual tickets are sold at Out of Town News in Harvard Square, LaVerde’s Market at the MIT Campus Center and the Marlboro Market.
Jo’s constituents were displeased with the stricter token policy.
“Obtaining tokens can oftentimes be a hassle, as students have to trek all the way to Lulu or to Stone Davis. Accepting cash would be easier and more convenient for students taking buses,” Jo said. After raising this concern at Senate, Jo was informed that accepting cash presents a liability issue for the driver, and she recognizes that there are limited options for changing this policy
Chmyz does not think the new policy is unreasonable, but says that the transportation department needs to make sure students can obtain tokens if the policy remains this strict.
“I think the policy makes sense. The token machine’s right there. But there ought to be some way of communicating when the token machines are broken, and the token machines should not be broken also,” Chmyz said.
The token machine in Stone-Davis is currently out of order and being repaired, meaning students can only obtain tokens at the Campus Center.
Due to multiple complaints regarding communication between the transportation department and the student body, the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) will be meeting with Senate members to discuss how to fix these problems.
Photo by Bianca Pichamuthu ’16, Photography Editor