October 26, 2006

Still waiting

This year, more than ever, the University has made its long-run transportation plan clear: Move all the students who are forced to live off campus onto campus. When you really think about it, this is really the only viable solution given the difficulties inherent in busing hundreds of students back and forth seven days a week. But that doesn’t mean the University can so irresponsibly handle the way Shoreland students will be transported the next two years. Two years is an eternity in the life of a college student. The University must look to take care of the present as well as the future.

It would be unfair to say that the University has neglected students living off campus. This year the University upped its transportation budget by 50 percent, but when you pay more, you expect to get something in return. And this doesn’t hold when it comes to transportation for the vast majority of students off campus. The worst decision was trusting in the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). The old system was far from perfect, but the CTA has such a well deserved reputation for mediocrity that the current inconsistencies should come as little surprise to the school.

The University has obviously made unwise choices here, but it can and should make students’ lives easier with a number of adjustments to the current system. Relocating the bus queues from their current location outside the Reg to their old home at the Reynolds Club would at the very least allow students to wait inside in comfort while their buses don’t show up.

This is not to say that the University has missed some obvious solution to transportation troubles. Busing is hard, but something is clearly wrong when you pay more and get an inferior result. Rerouting the current network would increase efficiency and limit delays. As it currently stands, the Central and East routes waste considerable amounts of time by running a useless loop west.

It is five weeks into the quarter, and students have only been told to wait for the University to work out the kinks in the system. Five weeks later, nothing has changed. Let’s hope the student body isn’t in the same situation at the start of next quarter when Chicago will be stuck in the dead of its harsh winters.