In the absence of a running PRT, students who need to travel between campuses for class are now relying on buses to get them from place to place.
Clement Solomon, director of WVU’s Department of Transportation and Parking, said increased caution due to COVID-19 was the main reasoning behind decisions on campus transportation this semester.
“We’re being conscious and cautious, that's kind of how I view this,” he said. “You know, we’re conscious of the surroundings, of the situation and we’re taking a cautious approach to the wellness and the wellbeing of our WVU community.”
Solomon said the buses would be running at reduced capacity in order to follow social distancing protocols. On the standard 56-seat coach buses, 14 seats are open while the rest of the seats are marked as unavailable.
Buses will be running on the same hours the PRT typically runs: 6:30 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. on weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays. In addition to keeping the same hours, WVU also aims to keep the buses running at a similar frequency to the PRT: on loops running approximately every five to seven minutes.
In order to make this possible, transportation is also operating with an additional 35 to 40 buses this semester.
The bus routes this fall include the Country Roads Loop, the Mountaineer Loop, the Health Sciences Express and the Coliseum Shuttle Service.
The Country Roads Loop takes about 12 minutes and runs continuously from Falling Run Road to Mountaineer Station, with a stop at Oakland Street.
The Mountaineer Loop takes about 10 minutes and runs from Area 8 of Beechurst Avenue (near the Beechurst PRT station) and stops at the intersection near the Brooks Hall ramp, thens runs to Evansdale Crossing.
The Health Sciences Express runs from Mountaineer Station to Evansdale Crossing.
The Coliseum shuttle service runs continuously from the Coliseum to Evansdale Crossing from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
In addition to these bus routes, the Mountain Line Transit Authority also runs routes including the Blue and Gold route and the Beechurst Express, which help connect the downtown and Evansdale campuses.
Expected wait times for the buses range from 20 to 30 minutes and may increase during times of heavy traffic, according to the WVU Transportation and Parking website.
Evan Pyles, a freshman business student, described his experience with waiting for the buses.
“I waited in one spot for about a half an hour once, but I switched up spots and started going to a different bus stop that’s not in front of Towers,” he said. “It’s the one next to the McDonald’s near Towers, and I got on, like straight on, pretty much.”