By: Rimsha Laeeq
As a commuter at McMaster University, getting home early isn’t always an option. For students who commute, studying late for a midterm in the library or attending an evening event is hardly an easy decision to make.
When deciding to stay late on campus as a commuter, transit is an issue to consider. It is crucial for students to be involved in the many activities that the university hosts. Students should not have to worry about their safety when commuting home from school.
This is why the Hamilton Street Railway should extend their bus schedules to the later hours of the evening.
The HSR has many buses that operate throughout the day, from the eastbound to the westbound, including the 5, 1, 51 and the 10, otherwise known as the B-Line Express.
Nevertheless, after 7:00 p.m., the B-Line stops running, meaning off-campus students have to either arrange their own rides or take one of the three other buses, which usually requires transferring onto another bus in downtown Hamilton.
As an off-campus student, the last B-line bus I can take to reach home under an hour departs from McMaster at 6:43 p.m. With most events ending after this, it becomes difficult for me to get home.
My 50-minute commute on one bus turns into an hour and 15-minute commute over two buses, and includes waiting in the heart of downtown to catch the second bus.
Students living off-campus are often forced to leave campus early and miss amazing events that McMaster offers because their bus won’t run after a specific time.
Being a university student does not mean to solely “work with academics”. I believe it is important for the HSR to extend their bus timings not only for the safety of their students but to allow students to become more involved with the different events taking place on campus.
With extended bus timings, students can engage in the abundant cultural events occurring at McMaster, with the opportunity to meet several other students at the university from a variety of programs and levels. This gives students the benefit of learning about the diverse cultures present at McMaster.
Off-campus students shouldn’t feel like they don’t belong, or don’t have a say in many of the events taking place due to inconvenient bus timings. These students, including myself, need to be a part of the university culture.
When it comes to academics, H.G. Thode Library of Science and Engineering is open until 2:00 a.m. during exam season for students to effectively study, whether that be alone or in groups.
For most students, once you sit down to study and are motivated to do so, you can study for hours on end. With a restricted time period due to bussing, this can often demotivate students, as getting in a ‘grind’ mode may be quite difficult for some.
Additionally, students study differently, which means that they need to be able to switch up their study environments. Some students prefer to study on campus while others prefer their home. Students shouldn’t have to compromise their academics because a bus doesn’t run at a later time.
For students who commute using the B-Line Express, this bus only runs on weekdays. With midterms, exams or other events occurring on the weekend, students are forced to take two or more buses or find alternate means of transport to get on campus.
Students should not be afraid of staying late at the school they attend. They should feel safe and have no difficulty commuting back and forth from campus on the daily.
When considering the safety of students, their involvement at McMaster and networking with people to make their university career a more fun-filled experience, HSR bus timings should most definitely be extended.
For students who are currently commuting and have to stay late, the McMaster Students Union offers a volunteer service, the Student Walk Home Attendant Team, who will walk or bus with students to their destination. This service is open seven days a week from 7:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.