What can people do with 30 minutes of their time? Read a book to their children. Write back to their grandmother. Sleep in. Work for wages. These are some of the things the Office of Transportation Management and the Office of Planning and Facilities Management neglected to consider when they redesigned the Georgetown University Transportation System bus routes. The university must stand up for its staff, students and priorities by reopening previous bus routes or devising new transportation methods to correct the problems caused by the relocation of the Dupont Circle Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle stop to the south side of campus.
With the recent changes to the GUTS bus lines, mandated by the 2010 Campus Plan, many faculty, staff, graduate students and visitors to the university and hospital face up to 30-minute additions to their daily commutes, especially those who take the Dupont GUTS bus line, increasing commute times by 2.5 hours per week, more than 10 hours per month and nearly a week per year. These changes, designed to placate fussy neighbors in the guise of creating “a more connected living and learning experience,” contribute to lost productivity, family time and sleep, not to mention an increased carbon footprint for the university. If the administration insist on maintaining the relocation, they must consider compensating employees for their lost time.
With the GUTS stop relocation, Georgetown denies its students, faculty and staff the fullest possible integration with the D.C. community further reinforcing the oft-bemoaned “Georgetown bubble.”
Moreover, the redesigned GUTS bus turnaround is both inconvenient and illogical. The lack of appropriate advertisement and signage in both English and Spanish for the new bus routes means that many faculty members, students and workers who were not informed of the route changes do not know where to wait for their transportation. For those living in west Georgetown, the removal of the Car Barn bus stop means that trips to Rosslyn involve an additional 15-minute walk to the McDonough Arena stop.
The new GUTS bus route has serious deficiencies. If the university is to maintain its commitment to access to reliable transportation, important changes must be considered.
To facilitate access to transportation, the administration should reopen previous bus stops or consider expanding access to Zipcar and Capital Bikeshare on campus.
The redirection of the Dupont GUTS bus and its implications for student life have achieved the opposite of the administration’s master planning initiative, which envisions a “more dynamic student residential community on the north side of campus” and therefore must be reconsidered.
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