UC Shuttle Abandons Students

Quad students without tickets were allowed on UC shuttles to the airport

While most students passed their journeys home for winter break eagerly anticipating the riotous festivities ahead, some had already had their share of holiday chaos, as they were left stranded outside of Lowell House when one of the Undergraduate Council (UC) shuttles to the airport ran out of room.

Dozens of students who hoped to get on the 2 p.m. shuttle to Logan International Airport on Tuesday, Dec. 20 were turned away at the last minute due to a lack of luggage space. After the shuttle apparently allowed students without tickets to board at the Quad, some students who had purchased their tickets in advance through the Harvard Box Office could not get a place on the packed bus.

Frank L. Washburn ’08, one of these disappointed students, quickly sent out an e-mail over the Quincy House open list sarcastically entitled “I love the UC,” which explained what had happened to him in biting detail.

“I proceeded to the front of the line, presenting my ticket—but the bus driver joyfully informed me that there was no room for my luggage,” Washburn wrote, adding that he had been told there would be no limits on luggage. “And I smiled, content with the knowledge that no matter what it is it was doing, the UC would always be there to shaft me.”

Although Washburn’s flight was delayed in the end so that missing the shuttle became merely a minor inconvenience for him, he said that he had spoken to several students who faced more serious problems.

“While I was there at least eight people who had already bought tickets were turned away because there wasn’t enough room for their luggage,” he wrote in an e-mail to The Crimson, adding that he had not yet received his money back.

Nicholas E. Huber ’09, vice chair of the council’s Campus Life Committee (CLC), who organized the shuttles, said yesterday that students with tickets who were turned away would be refunded if they contacted him or another CLC member.

In an e-mail sent to the UC-open list on Dec. 20, council member Elsa S. Kim ’08 wrote that, although the “bus was not filled to capacity,” they still “had to turn away many kids who had bought tickets.”

“We went to Lowell and there was a huge line,” Kim wrote. “We had loaded in only about five kids when the bus driver told me that there was no more room for luggage! This was understandable because at each stop at Logan for each set of airlines he would have to move aside all the luggage to get the bags for the students getting off at that stop.”

Huber said yesterday that, as far as he knew, only the 2 p.m. bus had had problems. He said the council would look into future measures to prevent a recurrence.

“It’s a tough situation,” he said. “Maybe we will have a luggage policy...maybe we will not be selling tickets at the box office.”

Aaron J. Mowery ’08—who left in a shared taxi at 2:15 p.m., before the shuttle even arrived, because he did not want to miss his flight—said the council should consider having separate shuttles for the Quad and River Houses. The 2 p.m. shuttle on Dec. 20 went to Currier House first and allowed students there without tickets to board before going to Lowell House.

“I just think it’s pathetic that the UC, when they’ve been doing this for so long, would underestimate numbers of people who would take the shuttle,” Mowery said.

—Staff writer Alexandra C. Bell can be reached at acbell@fas.harvard.edu.