The cold truth: Loyola shuttles cut idling engines

8069889224_50275a2067[1]By Ellen Schaft

Here’s the cold truth: Loyola University Chicago’s shuttle bus drivers must now keep buses turned off until five minutes before their departure.

As Chicago enters its blustery winter season, this means the shuttle, waiting up to 20 minutes before each route, will have no light and no heat for its passengers until five minutes before they leave.

Students are concerned that this change comes at the worst time, as the Chicago winters are cold and dark.

One such student, Maxwell Spector, 20, a junior communication studies major, is shivering at the thought.

“It’s annoying. It feels creepy sitting in the dark waiting for the shuttle to leave,” Spector said. “Plus it is going to be getting really cold, especially at nighttime.”

While this initiative was supposed to take place in the beginning of the fall semester, drivers started turning their engines off the week of Nov. 12.

A Loyola shuttle driver working for The Free Enterprise System, who wished to remain anonymous, was unhappy with the change and urged students to petition.

“We’re going to have to be sitting here in the dark when it’s 30 degrees and lower. None of us [shuttle drivers] are happy about this,” he said. “You students should get a petition together so we’re not all cold and left in the dark.”

Loyola has taken action to create a more green campus including this Shuttle Project, a student-run project that looks into the environmental and health impacts of idling buses.

Aaron N. Durnbaugh, Loyola’s Director of Sustainability, says that the benefits of shutting bus engines off outweigh the comfort of leaving them on.

“It saves money from student fees, diesel fuel including biodiesel, and reduces pollutants that Loyolans would have otherwise breathed in and potentially shortened their lives,” Durnbaugh said in an email statement.

Some students see the change in the shuttle as a way to continue Loyola’s mission to be a more sustainable campus and think it is a positive change.

Charles Heuring, 21, a junior marketing major, is willing to adjust if it means a cleaner environment.

“It is something I will definitely be able to get used to if it cuts down on more emissions going into the air. And this is Chicago, everyone knows to bring a warm coat in the winter,” Heuring said.


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