In August, a new schedule was posted to the Wellesley College website showing updated hours for the shuttle buses taking Wellesley students to Boston, Cambridge and cross-registering schools. This new schedule notably impacts students cross-registered in early and late MIT classes as well as students living off campus in Cambridge.
The schedule follows a vote to divest from fossil fuels and implement energy-saving policies in April, one such policy being a reduced number of daily trips taken by the shuttle buses. The earliest MIT Exchange bus arrives in Cambridge just before 10:00 am, and the latest arrives back to campus from MIT at 11:00 pm on weekdays.
Two petitions have since been circulated among Wellesley Facebook groups, each garnering dozens of signatures, asking for the bus schedule to be modified to begin running earlier. One petition’s creator, Deniz Ak ’23, is currently living off campus and, before the schedule was announced, had plans to commute to Wellesley in the mornings by taking the shuttle bus.
“We just asked for the College to accommodate us because it’s not like our school is somewhere where we can take a train,” Ak said. “If they don’t give us transportation, we don’t have anything sustainable that we can afford.”
However, the bus hours have not been extended, nor has any financial assistance been given to students by the College to pay for transportation. This is contrary to the policy recommended by the ECON/ES 199 class in their Meeting the Moment report, in which they stated that the College could provide reimbursement to students who cannot manage to take the bus to get to and from Cambridge during odd hours.
“What this is doing is it’s mostly affecting the lower income students and people who don’t have the resources to just leave whenever they want because they just can’t afford it as much,” Nya Wright ’24 said. “They’re not really being better for the environment because people can drive and people might use other methods of transportation.”
The cost of a trip between Cambridge and Wellesley depends on the mode of transportation. Taking the commuter rail costs $8 for a one-way ticket or $261 for a monthly pass. An Uber trip varies in cost depending on the time of day and availability of drivers but is around $30-40. The shuttle bus, however, continues to be free for Wellesley students on weekdays.
“I have been rather disappointed with the lack of response and forethought,” Piper Wysocki ’22 said. “I understand that there are things to be done with the bus schedule to make it less costly and environmentally friendly; I just feel like this change was not made in cooperation with the students.”
College administration have met with students to discuss the bus schedule, including Ak and Teran Chapis ’22, who wrote an additional petition. No changes have been announced since these meetings. Peter Eastment, the director of transportation for Wellesley College, did not respond to multiple interview requests from the News for comments.
“Commuting students are not a monolith of people,” Xi Wu ’22 said. “We live off campus for various reasons, and we shouldn’t be punished for seeking our own wellness.”