Students returning from a night on the town this past weekend got to take a peak at the pilot service of the Red Line Shuttle. The shuttle, which runs from the Garfield Red Line stop to the Reynolds Club, no doubt expedites the return trip for students, faculty, and members of the University community. But while we understand the importance of shaving time from the trip downtown and back, we also acknowledge the argument that the shuttle may serve to further estrange the University from Hyde Park. Imagine students boarding a chartered tour bus to their campus fortress while their neighbors from down the street wait in the cold.
As students in a private University, we do not have to feel guilty about providing exclusive services to University members. We do, however, understand how members of the greater community could feel alienated by an exclusive shuttle. The University, long at odds with the local community, is in the thick of expansion and community support is imperative to our success. It is in the University's best interest to maximize the transportation options for all of Hyde Park.
With this in mind we suggest that the Student Government Transportation Committee work with administrators to explore expanding the shuttle to allow any rider on the shuttle, affiliated with the University or not. The University has a history of supporting the neighboring communities by initiatives such as the decision to expand patrolling of UCPD police officers up to 39th Street. Investing the resources to allow community members a ride back to Hyde Park would, of course, still shorten the travel time for University students, faculty, and staff. It would also send a message of inclusion to the greater communitya move that could yield generous benefits in the not too distant future.