The University is taking steps to speed up GWorld transaction time at area businesses that accept Colonial Cash. The move comes in response to recent complaints from business managers about delays in customer traffic caused by slower processing time this semester.
Officials attribute slower service to an increase in the number of people using GWorld cards as payment since the advent of Colonial Cash this fall. Last year, students could only use Debit Dollars, which they were not required to purchase, at off-campus venues. Students living on campus had to purchase separate meal plan points to be used at on-campus venues.
Currently, all students living on campus must purchase Colonial Cash, which can be used at on- and off-campus venues.
When an off-campus business swipes a student’s GWorld card, the employee must wait in a virtual line until a modem, the means of connection between GW and its off-campus partners, becomes available. While off-campus partners use modems to connect, University venues use a faster infrastructure that allows for immediate transaction time.
Director of the GWorld Card Program Deborah Wright said the University is currently adding more modems to its bank to increase transaction capacity.
Several area businesses reported increases in student business since the implementation of Colonial Cash and are now determining how to deal with extra customers.
Darren Finch, manager of T. G. I. Friday’s, said the restaurant has seen five times as many students this year as last, when the business accepted Debit Dollars. He said the restaurant is trying to acquire two more GWorld card processing machines and has set a limit of four GWorlds per table.
“We welcome the business, but there’s no way we can keep up with the demand and have only one machine,” he said.
“Last week I went to T. G. I. Friday’s and it took 20 minutes to process GWorlds,” sophomore Adam Conner said.
Ben Lipetz, general manager of Au Bon Pain, said he is “investigating” putting in a DSL direct link, which would speed up access, but that this step is “far from a sure thing.”
“The number of students coming in now has made the lines longer, checkout slower,” Lipetz said.
Wright said the University will not provide off-campus partners with faster modems. She said if businesses find a faster system, such as DSL, the University will evaluate it to ensure compatibility with the GW network.
Wright said system slowness has not made off-campus partners reluctant to join the Colonial Cash program.
Nancy Baret, marketing manager for Bertucci’s, said the problems concerning transaction speed “are not exclusive to us but are occurring at various other places as well.”
“(Accepting Colonial Cash) opens us up. It brings more customers in the door for us,” said Baret, who added that Bertucci’s has not contacted the University.
Bertucci’s started accepting GWorld as payment this semester.
“We want everybody to keep coming in. We just ask for a little patience,” Finch said.
Wright said the University is considering several other off-campus businesses that expressed interest in becoming partners but would not disclose their names until they officially sign on with the University.