There has to be a better way

By on February 11, 2009

“We’ve been waiting here for over 20 minutes,” someone at the shuttle stop by Perlroth told me one day recently.
How could that be?

The shuttles only have to go so far: one stop down Whitney Avenue and another right above campus by the Polling Institute. There’s no way a round trip should take 20 minutes. But between speed bumps, jay-walkers and the toll booth-esque bars, it begins to make some sense.

Of course, when the shuttle finally arrives, the driver decides to go to the parking lot in which your car is not parked. But the driver doesn’t take the shortcut down New Road to get to Whitney Lot. He or she drives up Mount Carmel Avenue, tantalizingly close to Westwoods, only to make a left and not a right. And the light by Westwoods just changed to a green left arrow too.

At this point, you have been out of your room for at least 30 minutes. Some students are only going into town to go shopping, but others are in a much bigger hurry. They are commuting to work, a job interview or maybe even an off-campus class meeting – time-sensitive activities. The reliability – or lack thereof – of the shuttle is something that many sophomores and some juniors (those who were not lucky enough to get a coveted Hilltop spot) have to deal with daily.

Recently, I left my room two and a half hours early for a trip that should only take an hour and a half. Because of a late shuttle returning to campus, I barely made it to my destination on time.

Now you go off to Hamden, North Haven or elsewhere. You do your thing for 25, 30 minutes and drive back to your designated parking lot. You sit there helplessly, listening to the sounds of traffic, hoping, maybe even praying, that one of the loud-sounding vehicles in the background is the shuttle. Time passes, and the shuttle has neither been seen nor heard.

A trip that should’ve taken about 30 minutes had your car been parked at your doorstep – or a reasonable distance away – is approaching 90 minutes.

But it doesn’t stop there. You’re finally on the shuttle and it makes its way back to campus. You look at the time, and it coincides exactly with when students get out of class. You shrug your shoulders and sigh. The line of people seemingly never ends.

There has to be a better way.

Many shuttles are running concurrently during the day. Here is what I’m proposing: Have one shuttle only go to Westwoods, while the other travels exclusively to Whitney. Break it up into 10- or 15-minute intervals. A consistent schedule will allow students to arrive at the stops and not have to wait long.

Whitney Lot also hugs New Road. There already is some preexisting opening in a fence that could be repaved for shuttle use to cut down on driving time.

Having a car off-campus is frustrating for all involved, but there can, and should, be more efficient ways to handle this problem.

Either that, or the forest by the former College of Liberal Arts could be turned into a giant parking lot. But no one would want that, right? Right?


About Andrew Fletcher