The University Police Department will no longer offer 4-RIDE on-demand shuttle service between residence halls preferring instead to have students rely upon the Colonial Express shuttle vans, which circle campus every 40 minutes. While many students are understandably upset at the announcement, the decision to change the way GW transports students is practical and in line with systems at other universities. To enhance the new system,UPD should consider adding one more shuttle to the route to cut the wait time from 40 to 20 minutes.
The old system, in which 4-RIDE vans took students to and from any on-campus location and off-campus areas within a limited radius, was inefficient and led to massive delays. Some students complained about waits as long as 45 minutes for a van to arrive. With the new system, though, the shuttle schedule is posted in each residence hall. Students wishing to use the service can meet the bus at the appointed time. This method will solve the problem of high demand creating greater delays. By adhering to a regular schedule, the Colonial Express buses are not dependent on students’ whims for their route and can make adjustments to prevent delays.
The on-demand 4-RIDE service will not be discontinued, only scaled back. Vans will still take students from on-campus locations to off-campus spots within a three-block radius. And they will still pick students up from buildings on campus that are not near Colonial Express stops.
Many students, though, are unhappy with the decision to change the way 4-RIDE works. The University Police Department should have helped ease student concerns by giving more time between the announcement of the changes and the actual implementation of the new policy. Coming on the heels of the housing lottery fiasco, some students see the alterations to 4-RIDE as one more inconvenience. While this may not be the case, GW officials should have viewed their decision in the context in which it was handed down and should have accounted for the already strained relationship many students perceive between themselves and the administration.
Ultimately, the decision to change shuttle service will benefit GW students by creating a more reliable system that costs less to operate. Some extra changes are necessary. UPD should operate at least two shuttle vans to cut the wait time. This reasonable accommodation will speed up the route and hopefully encourage more students to use the service.