Whether or not you backed the bid, there’s one thing just about everyone can agree on: The failure of the Olympic bid means that public transportation to and from Hyde Park will remain limited at best. That’s why it’s encouraging that the University has taken steps to fill this void. A late-night weekend shuttle from downtown announced by Interim Director of Transportation Rodney Morris last week is a bold acknowledgment of student needs.
The pilot shuttle program introduces a new bus that allows students to return safely to Hyde Park after evenings downtown. Running on Friday and Saturday nights every half hour from either midnight to 4 a.m. or 11:30 p.m. to 3 a.m., the shuttle will take students from the South Loop Roosevelt CTA Station—a major CTA hub—to the Reynolds Club. The shuttle will mean fewer late, cold nights spent waiting at the chronically unsafe Red and Green Line Garfield stops. The shuttle service is similarly useful to those who would otherwise depend on the #6 bus, which ends service at 1 a.m., or the Metra, which runs until 2 a.m.
While the program is an exciting new option, it will only succeed if enough students know about and utilize the service. In the past, one of the biggest challenges for new transportation initiatives has been their promotion. Programs like the Maroon and Phoenix shuttles flopped largely because students didn’t know about them. To avoid dooming the new shuttle to a similar fate, the Transportation Office must put a strong emphasis in coming weeks on spreading information about the program.
The University’s recognition of the hassles of traveling downtown is indicative of an important shift in policy and a better understanding of student life. Improving the lives of students in Hyde Park requires giving students the means to leave the neighborhood with the knowledge that their return trip will be convenient and safe.
The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Viewpoints Editors, and two additional Editorial Board members.