After significant pushback from the campus community, the University of Maryland’s Department of Transportation Services announced Tuesday that it will reinstate weekend service for several Shuttle-UM routes in the fall, including the #104 College Park Metro Station route.
DOTS will also reinstate daytime weekend service for the #133 bus to the Mall at Prince George’s, the #122 Green, the #116 Purple, #117 Blue and the #118 Gold.
The #142 Columbia Park & Ride bus, which was eliminated entirely, has not been reinstated.
DOTS announced reduced shuttle bus services in May, citing a budget shortfall of at least $700,000. The department found an unlikely partner to help make up for the shortage — the university athletics department, according to an email sent to the campus community Tuesday.
The university’s athletics department brought in about $94.9 million in revenue during the 2017 fiscal year, according to a USA Today report.
“Finding new ways to collaborate with partners across campus to support our students, faculty and staff is a priority for me. We’re thrilled to be able to financially contribute to an initiative like this that supports our community,” athletics director Damon Evans said in a statement.
“When we spoke with Damon Evans about the critical impact of Shuttle-UM on daily student life, he was immediately willing to work with us. I can’t thank Athletics enough for partnering with DOTS and their willingness to step up when there is a true student need,” said DOTS Executive Director David Allen in a statement.
Many students decried the cuts, particularly for the #104, after they were first announced in May.
“I share the frustrations of my fellow students and am working to advocate for sustainable solutions,” Student Government Association President Jonathan Allen wrote about the #104 cuts in a statement May 10.
Nuku Monu, a rising junior computer science major, said he wasn’t aware the #104 route had been cut in the first place, but “it would’ve been weird if I wanted to ride the bus to the Metro on the weekends and it wasn’t there.”
Monu was glad to hear it was back, saying he had ridden it several times.
Alexander Newgent, a rising senior electrical engineering major, said he was happy the routes have been reinstated, but criticized DOTS’s handling of the situation.
“At the very least, they could’ve not announced [the cutting of the routes] as a surprise, at the end of the semester, when people had already signed up to go to UMD,” Newgent said.
The reinstated #104 will now stop at Regents Drive Garage instead of Stamp, as one lane of Campus Drive is set to close in August to accommodate Purple Line construction.
Construction on the new light rail line, which will run through the campus, began this summer.
Arya Hodjat contributed to this report.