Community · Downtown · Evansdale · For The Students · Morgantown · PRT · West Virginia University

You Can’t Spell Party Without P R T-Why The PRT Is Closing Early

1349099071It wouldn’t be Morgantown without the Personal Rapid Transit, and it certainly wouldn’t be a normal day of classes without the PRT breaking down.

Over the past couple of years, though, the PRT has undergone many drastic changes to the system and its all-around looks, but there doesn’t seem to be a difference.

This past year, the Department of Transportation (WVUDOT) decided to close the PRT early at 8:00pm instead of the original 10:00pm, but why?

Arlie Forman, Associate Director of the PRT, spoke about the topic…

Currently the Automatic Train Control and Automatic Fare Collection System are being replaced by and international company named Thales Security. Portions of the project will be completed by the end of Summer 2016, but the new System will not be commissioned and put into passenger service until August 2017.  During this same period the MPRT will be replacing all of the electrical substation and we will begin working on a prototype vehicle design to replace the existing MPRT vehicle.

The MPRT is closing early to support software testing for the Automatic Train Control System. Software development and testing is a very long process and since our existing system is over 40 years old we wanted to help the testing process by allowing more time to test the new Train Control/Vehicle software since most of this work cannot be done during passenger service.

With all of the new changes and updates to make the PRT more reliable, students are still upset about the system.

“I don’t like the new PRT hours because it’s harder to get around campus in the evening, especially when you have a night class,” said Carter Thompson, a sophomore at WVU.

Joey Licata, also a sophomore at WVU, said he drives around campus because he doesn’t “have to worry about walking or the PRT breaking down or waiting around.”

However, Forman said that he’s received very few complaints about the change in operational hours.

“I have only heard of a couple complaints very early on when the hours were changed, but we hoped to mitigate any problems by providing bus support during these amended hours,” said Forman.

The PRT shuttle bus is a good replacement for students to take between the downtown Mountain Lair and Engineering after 8:00pm. The shuttle buses come into effect during the duration of the time that the PRT would normally be open.

Forman said that WVUDOT‘s first goal is greater reliability with the system…

We need to operate consistently at greater than 99% System Reliability. The problem with achieving the goal is the way power is collected for vehicle. It’s a weak spot [and] although purposeful, it does create down time since the power collection arms can fail and the miles of power rail that need to be maintained.

There are no definite blueprints for the prototype, however there are certain aspects such as vehicle dimensions and the boarding elevation that will have to remain the same since we can’t afford to change the infrastructure. I personally would like to see a hybrid powered vehicle so this inherent weak spot can be addressed.

Take the poll below and see what other people are saying about the PRT:



10 thoughts on “You Can’t Spell Party Without P R T-Why The PRT Is Closing Early

  1. I feel like every student here on campus has some sort of PRT story that revolves around them being late, breaking down or just some terrible experience with it. I had a friend recently visit and she couldn’t get over how cool the PRT was, like a little train that gets students from spot to spot. But little does she know how the PRT actually is. It’s almost a competition to see how many people can fit in one PRT car while also a race to get to the first PRT the minute the doors open. During the winter months is the most common time the PRT breaks down with the snow and cold weather. Though there are buses that students can take, they are often unreliable also. Many students spend more than 30 mins out in the cold waiting for a bus and many often leave and just go home because they don’t want to wait. I’m happy to hear that the PRT is getting a little makeover in hopes of making it better than it is right now. Granted, it will be closing early, but in the long run, it will benefit the PRT and its reliability (hopefully).


  2. This is the big problem with the PRT to me, that it closes so early. I love your headline as well that was very clever. I have only ever had to use the PRT this semester. Until now all of my classes have all been downtown. The only time I used it was to get to football games. While everyone likes to talk crap about the PRT I have never had to bad of a time with it. I am probably just getting lucky with timing because I hear a lot about how people break down on it all the time. It would be awesome though if the PRT stayed open late because I feel like it is a huge pain for kids who live in towers to get from downtown at night back to their dorms. It would be awesome if it were like an all night system.


  3. Good title! Definitely drew me in to read more. So, maybe he didn’t hear the complaints, because there were a lot more than “a couple.” I hear it in conversations all of the time. When I told people who thought it was still 10 p.m., they always were visibly annoyed. I was too because I would like to be able to get back and forth in the evenings and buses make me feel incredibly sick. It’s good that they have a sort-of solution for the issue, I guess. Why did they start the testing during the normal semester, though? They could have waited until the summer. I liked your use of a poll for this story, but I couldn’t figure out how to see the total results.


  4. The PRT closing earlier hasn’t personally been an issue for me, since I’m almost never in a position where I would need to take the PRT at that time, but I do recall an initial pang of frustration and annoyance when I heard about the change. However, just anecdotally, the PRT has seemed to be a lot more reliable since they made the change, although I don’t know if that’s just me. If there’s any correlation, then maybe it’s a good thing.


  5. The PRT system genuinely infuriates me, and I am so, so happy to only have to ride it ONE MORE TIME in college woo!!! It’s definitely a cool system, one of a kind, but it’s so unreliable. Thanks for doing a piece on it!!


  6. Ohhh the PRT. 3 letters and it typically comes with more than 3 (bad) words. When it’s running, it seems to be running fine but the minute it breaks down, you have to alter the rest of your day because there really is no guarantee on when it will be back up and running. I really enjoyed your blog for the points you made that flowed well with the interviews you have included. Additionally, the survey along with the Vine video were cool components that added to this post.


  7. I find it extremely hard to believe that he has only received “a couple” of complaints. With the PRT being considered one of the main sources of transportation and all of the developments that are threatening the Mountain Line Bus Transit, closing the PRT is a huge inconvenience. It’s annoying that Morgantown is making it so hard for transportation when it’s such a small place. I would expect this in a bigger city. Thanks for clarifying what’s going on with the PRT. Thank goodness this is my last week with it and I’m not going to miss it at all!


  8. First off, incredible headline. It made me laugh out loud. I think PRT woes are something everyone here has faced, and if you haven’t, you probably aren’t a real WVU student! I don’t use the PRT much because I live 30 seconds from the bus stop (thank goodness!) so this doesn’t bother me much, but this will definitely be an inconvenience for people with night classes. I know classes run past 8pm, so are people just expected to either drive downtown and pay a ridiculous amount of money for parking or catch the PRT bus that only goes to one location? They should at least extend the hours to 30 minutes past the last night class!


  9. I think a lot of people are quick to bash the PRT, but we would be royally screwed without it. Could it be better? Yes. But everyone I’ve heard complain about the new hours doesn’t seem to have read the 3 million signs posted at every station that mention the renovation process.


  10. Although I personally only sparingly use the PRT now (mainly just for football games,) I felt frustration for freshman who do use it frequently when I heard the PRT was closing early. I rode the PRT countless times to Evansdale my first year, especially later in the evening to go to dinner and the rec. It seems though that students aren’t having an issue with it so that’s good! I do think that the PRT is in desperate need of an update so the annoyances now will pay off. Great title, and I really liked your use of the Vine!


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