Students living near Lake Michigan will see changes in their transportation to and from campus next year, as the Housing System has decided to modify the Shoreland Express ID policy to allow more people the opportunity to ride the bus in the afternoon.
A major complaint of students living off-campus and in the dorms near the lake, the blanket ID policy has denied students without IDs access onto almost empty buses in the off-peak afternoon hours while failing to alleviate the overly-congested morning buses.
The 30-year-old policy allows only students with Shoreland or Broadview IDs to ride during the morning and dinner runs. According to Cheryl Gutman, deputy dean of students for Housing, Dining and Transportation, the policy was only rigorously implemented this year as instances of overcrowding in the morning increased.
Gutman said that implementation of the policy has become less rigorous in the last few years, partly a result of having more service at the Shoreland.
"The buses are less full thus making it seem less justifiable to load only those with bus IDs," she said. "However, there are still several points in the morning when the Broadview students are not able to board the bus."
Other complaints with the current system include the fact that residents from Shoreland and Broadview cannot bring friends or family on the express bus. Also, Shoreland and Broadview residents who forget their ID are denied rides on their own express buses.
Gutman accepted the recommendations to change the ID policy from the Inter-House Council (IHC) Transportation Advisory Committee last week. The new policy, to be implemented next year, will only require IDs during the morning rush from 7 to 11:20 A.M., while any University ID will allow admittance to the bus from 2:20 to 7 P.M.
Housing will also change the name of the afternoon route from the Shoreland Express to the East Hyde Park Shuttle to emphasize that priority sitting on morning buses is restricted to Shoreland and Broadview residents.
The new ID policy was spearheaded by Jeremy Guttman, a Shoreland resident who championed the campaign for changes in the bussing system. Guttman, a second-year in the College who is not related to Cheryl Gutman of the housing office, first went to housing after realizing that the stiff ID policy would be implemented during the harsh winter.
"Only after the housing office indicated to me that other students' input would help my concerns did I put up fliers in Shoreland a few weeks ago," Guttman said.
By posting papers and distributing emails through Shoreland, and also submitting an article about bussing to the Maroon Viewpoints, Guttman garnered a significant volume of response from Shoreland and Broadview residents and resident advisors.
After establishing his base of University support, Guttman gained the opportunity to speak in front of the Transportation Subcommittee, a University board consisting of IHC liaisons; Student Government representatives; a Graduate Student; representatives from the Laidlaw Bus Company, which owns the Chicago buses; CTA (planning and operations); the alderman's office; and housing officials, including Gutman.
At the most recent Transportation Subcommittee meeting, Guttman and Vanessa Stan, the Shoreland Council president, presented a compilation of Shoreland testimonials about bussing to the subcommittee.
"By no means will all the complaints about Shoreland bussing be ameliorated by this policy change," said Nick Poulos, IHC liaison and member of the Transportation Subcommittee. "People will always be dissatisfied with the bus service, like dining and paper writing. But if anyone has any issues that they feel need to be addressed, they can always email email@example.com or tell their friendly IHC representative."
Those who have heard about the changes are pleased that the ID policy has been changed. Philip Van Den Hout, a second-year in the College and Shoreland resident, believes the original ID policy was irrational for not allowing people on an empty bus.
"I don't see a problem with checking IDs in the mornings, when the bus is full, and not checking IDs in the afternoon, when the buses are never full. That seems like a logical way to solve the problem of people not getting on the bus," Van Den Hout said.