For the second-consecutive semester, WVU’s PRT is unoperational — for better or worse.
Shuttered due to COVID-19 concerns, the University’s transportation system has been replaced by a caravan of coach buses.
According to senior journalism student Adam Payne, who currently lives down by Grant Avenue, one downside to not having the PRT available is that the buses are sometimes harder to get on.
“I don't necessarily find it more difficult to take the bus to class, but I think that the PRT would come a lot more frequently than the mountain line. Overall though, I think the shuttle buses have been a pretty consistent replacement for them,” said Payne.
Students like Payne expected the PRT to be up and running for the second semester of classes considering the other accommodations the school has made to maintain social distancing.
“Honestly I did think that they were going to run the PRT this semester and just limit the number of people that could be on it for social distancing,” Payne said, “but I think that would be worse based on how many people would try to jam on there at one time.”
With the weather being significantly colder to start this semester, as opposed to last fall, students are also less eager to walk to classes between the Downtown and Evansdale campuses due to the winter weather conditions.
Some freshmen, like civil engineering student Julia Baldwin, only have one in-person class this semester that requires her to take the bus downtown.
“With the weather it’s harder to make it to class especially since I used to walk downtown more frequently last semester,” Baldwin said. “I’m not sure if the PRT would be better than the buses, but transportation is more difficult this semester overall.”
For upperclassmen, the adjustment to using different transportation has taken its toll.
Payne, who had been late to class multiple times last semester as a result, said, “It's been difficult trying to navigate if I should wait a longer time to get on the Mountain Line bus — when they've become pretty unreliable — or walk the greater distance to get on the newly provided shuttle buses.”
Regardless of the weather situation, students seem satisfied with the efforts made by the University to provide extra transportation options.
“I definitely think that they created a good solution and they created a decent solution,” Payne said.
Four separate bus routes are operated on WVU’s Morgantown campus. One of the most popular is the Country Roads Loop, one of two routes that connects the Downtown Campus to the area around the Towers residential complex, among others.
“I usually take the shuttle bus on University Avenue to get downtown,” Baldwin said. “It’s more convenient than the Mountain Line bus, and I like that it follows one route.”
According to Baldwin, the lack of in person classes this semester has eased up some of the stress of finding a way downtown, but the absence of the PRT is still a disappointment.
“I just hope that by the fall semester we’ll be able to use the PRT again,” Baldwin said.