Students who call the University escort service 4-RIDE for a ride from one on-campus locations to another must use the Colonial Express Shuttle if they are near a shuttle stop starting this week, said Dolores Stafford, director of University Police.
“During peak hours students going from one building to another on the shuttle route will be told the next time the shuttle will be at their location,” Stafford said.
UPD says the plan is necessary because there is too much demand for the escort service.
“During peak hours we can have up to 20 calls waiting, but there are only five or six vans,” Stafford said. “If you figure each call takes five to 10 minutes, that means students can wait up to 40 minutes for a ride.”
The 4-Ride escort service runs from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. and will now only service campus buildings that are not near a shuttle stop or locations up to three blocks off campus. The demand for service is greatest between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., Stafford said.
The Colonial Express Shuttle also runs from 7 p.m. until 3 a.m. on a set 35-minute route starting at Lafayette Hall, stopping at various campus buildings and residence halls, and ending at the GW Law School.
This means a student who boards the shuttle at Lafayette at 7 p.m. wanting to go to Gelman Library, one of the last shuttle stops, would not arrive until 7:34 p.m., according to the shuttle schedule.
Stafford said she does not think the new arrangement will discourage students from using either service.
“I think if we can take some pressure from 4-RIDE, students won’t have to wait 40 minutes for an escort,” Stafford said. “Students with a shuttle stop should get better service and students without a shuttle stop should get better service.”
Statistics show that 4-RIDE use rose dramatically this year. Eight months into the current school year, 33,431 people have used 4-RIDE, compared to 425 who rode the Colonial Express Shuttle. From February 1999 until February 2000, 3,500 fewer people used 4-RIDE, according to UPD statistics. The shuttle does not run during breaks or during the summer, Stafford said.
UPD will distribute posters to residence halls explaining the new policy this week, Stafford said.
Some students said they are upset about the policy change and said the inconvenience of too many stops along the shuttle route would keep them from using the service.
“4-RIDE is simple,” junior Beth Morrison said. “It will most likely take you to location with only one or two stops in between. Why take a shuttle that will stop five or six times? It’s just inefficient.”
Some students said UPD should run more than one shuttle.
“They should have shuttles going in different directions,” junior Kimberly Young said. “I couldn’t imagine taking the D.C. Metro in a circle to get to a stop just a few stops away from where I started.”