By Aliyah Siddiqui
In an email sent to students on Sept. 20, Namitha Sethuraman, the administrative director of the Student Finance Board (SFB), announced that starting Sept. 24, students would be able to use the Loop Bus again. Running on Fridays and Saturdays, the Loop Bus is available for any student free of charge.
The first Loop Bus on Friday, Sept. 24, was canceled due to staffing shortages, according to the SFB Instagram (@tcnjsfb). The Loop Bus fully resumed on Sept. 25.
“The Loop Bus runs on Friday nights (5:30pm-10:50pm) and Saturday afternoons (3:00pm-8:20pm). Stops include the Hamilton Train Station, Quaker Bridge Mall, Nassau Park Pavilion, Market Fair and Princeton. The bus picks students up in front of Trenton Hall,” Sethuraman said in the email. “If students miss the Loop Bus to return back to TCNJ, it is their responsibility to find their method of transportation back. Students cannot start from a destination other than TCNJ. For example, a student cannot already be at Princeton and get a ride back to TCNJ through the Loop Bus.”
There are a number of changes this semester, however, due to the pandemic. According to Sethuraman, the AMC Hamilton movie theater stop was replaced with a stop at The Square at West Windsor due to the theater’s closing. Students also have to be masked, vaccinated and carrying the green health pass on the Roar app to ensure student safety.
“All students who ride the Loop Bus must be fully vaccinated. This is because it is not possible for unvaccinated students to maintain 6-foot social distancing guidelines at all times on the bus,” Sethuraman wrote. “When students check-in, they must also show the student representative their green health pass from Roar to maintain safety.”
The Loop Bus, which has been used by many students in the past, remains a positive experience for senior Jennifer Ahmad, an interactive multimedia and Spanish double major with a minor in music technology.
“I used the Loop Bus freshman year when I didn’t have a car on campus,” Ahmad said. “My friends and I used to take the Loop Bus to go to the mall or Target for something to do off-campus. My experience was positive; we had plenty of time to go shopping and eat before the Loop Bus would return so we never felt rushed, which was great.”
For students who do not have a car, like freshman political science major Amelia Laubsch, the Loop Bus provides an opportunity to venture off campus and explore the nearby community.
“I am looking forward to going to Target, maybe the train station too,” Laubsch said.
Nonetheless, Laubsch wishes that the Loop Bus offered more times to allow for more flexibility. “I think it would be nice for it to run all day Saturday or Sunday morning,” Laubsch said.
Ahmad agrees with this sentiment: “I think there are enough times available on Friday and Saturday, but it would have been great to have it on Sunday too.”
The schedule for the Loop Bus can be found on the Student Finance Board website or in the email sent to students.