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Commuter Students Deal with Poor MBTA Service

SGA Vice President Colin Loiselle

SGA Vice President Colin Loiselle

The recent MBTA failure has hit hard at schools like Suffolk University whose students rely heavily on public transportation to get to class. More than 75% of all Suffolk undergraduate students commute, and they are feeling the burden these last couple of weeks. Finding a train that is on time is nearly impossible, and getting into the city on the first few days after a storm is getting more and more challenging. Many students are simply giving up, not even trying to make the journey into Boston. As a commuter student, I have found myself having to make that same hard decision twice now, first after Juno pelted the region, and again after the most recent storm left commuter rail trains stranded on frozen, snow covered tracks.

I’ve talked to a lot of students who rely on the T to get to class. They are all fed up. They often find themselves waiting in a crowded station for a red line train that never shows up, or like me on a platform in Lowell in 10 degree weather, waiting for a train that shows up 50 minutes late. Even those lucky enough to make it into Boston without major delays worry about being stranded on their commute home. It’s getting crazy.

In a city like Boston it is hard to believe that the MBTA can just shut down, or run “limited schedules” on a seemingly daily basis. Fortunately for Suffolk

students, the administration has been pretty good about cancelling classes when the MBTA wasn’t working. Barring, of course, the horrid commute for so many students on President’s Day which was intended to be used as a make-up day, the administration seems to be fairly considerate of the commuter population when deciding whether to hold classes or not.

But with this week’s announcement that it would take the MBTA upwards of thirty days to get everything back up and running to regular service, more needs to be done. The MBTA needs to work with Boston schools to make sure that their “limited” schedules are able to accommodate the need for students to get to class. After all, isn’t Boston the greatest college town in America?

Finally, University officials need to work faculty to utilize the online learning tools available to us through platforms like Blackboard, iTunes U, and so on. Two of my professors have turned to these alternative learning techniques and it has made catching up in classes while battling a horrid commute so much better. The winter is not over yet. The threat of more snow lingers, and with more snow comes more commuter woes.

I can’t propose a quick fix to the MBTA failures, but I am confident that the two steps I have mentioned will help alleviate some of the stress that us commuter students feel on a daily basis.

All I can say is good luck commuters, we’re going to need it.

Colin F. Loiselle
Vice President
Student Government Association
Chief Justice, Student Judiciary Review Board (SJRB)
Suffolk University ‘16

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