A member of Mount Vernon Campus Life is spearheading efforts to lobby GW to hire an employee whose sole job would be to oversee the Vern Express shuttle service.
Sophomore Joshua Bochner said the first step toward mitigating Vern Express reliability issues is to hire an individual to manage the system from an office on the Mount Vernon Campus, adding that there should be a better system to render student feedback.
Riders have voiced grievances this year about slow and unreliable Vern Express service, despite an expansion of the service’s fleet after the number of residents on the Vern increased.
“I want the person to be a visible face of running the service,” Bochner said.
University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said a staff member is responsible for overseeing the contract with International Limousine – the company that operates the shuttle service – but has other duties as well.
Bochner said he recently met with University President Steven Knapp and Alicia O’Neil Knight, the senior vice president of operations, to discuss the feasibility of hiring a manager.
“President Knapp did not seem to be aware of the severity of the issue,” Bochner said. “The service is the most critical aspect of the Mount Vernon Campus.”
Sherrard said GW isn’t actively looking to hire an individual who would solely oversee the Vern Express, but is searching for a new director of transportation and parking services. There may be changes to the Vern Express’ staff and management as a result, she said.
Bochner said the Vern might face long-term consequences if the Vern Express is not improved because the service dictates the campus’ success or failure. He also said the shuttle service, marred by student complaints, is a drawback for students who live on the Vern and is the “deal-breaker” when students are picking a campus.
“Millions of dollars have been invested in the campus over the last few years,” Bochner said. “Those long-term investments will not pay off if nobody wants to live up there.”