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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Union secures limited Riverside shuttle test run

Published: November 11, 2011
Section: News

Even with campus BranVans and shuttle buses regularly running into Waltham and Boston, Brandeis students seeking to explore other cities and towns in the greater Boston area find public transportation difficult to navigate and avail themselves. Most college students live on a tight budget and only upperclassmen are allowed to have cars, limiting transportation options.

This may change soon, however, if student interest is a strong indicator. On Saturday, Nov. 12, and Sunday, Nov. 20, the Brandeis Department of Public Safety will be testing a new shuttle bus to the Riverside MBTA Station on the Green Line in Newton.

For students accustomed to taking the Commuter Rail to Davis and Porter Square on the T’s Red Line, the Riverside trial shuttle comes at an important time. Through early March, the MBTA will use buses to replace Red Line trains between Harvard and Alewife Stations, in order to perform track maintenance, according to the MBTA.

The Brandeis shuttle, which seats 39 people at a time, will run every hour from 12:30 to 8:30 p.m. from the Admissions parking lot. This gives groups of students the chance to venture into Newton for an afternoon or evening and enjoy the attractions of the suburb. It also provides another mode of transportation into Boston. Because the green line runs frequently throughout the day, students do not need to meet a specific time on the schedule, as they must for the commuter rail.

The two-day trial shuttle is “the result of collaboration with the Student Union,” which Student Union President Herbie Rosen ’12 said in a press release represents the voice of the general student body. It “will allow us to review the demand for a possible, future Riverside Shuttle service,” he continued. The future of this shuttle service depends on the interest that students show on these two days.

“Our goal is always to listen to the students, especially when it comes to the Escort Safety Service, because we are a fully student-run service and we not only provide transportation for the student body but we also rely on the students to better our service,” Shirel Guez ’12, student Public Safety coordinator and former Union vice president, said. “Our aim is to be receptive to student concerns and initiate new trial programs, which can hopefully be sustained from an adequate funding source in the future.” Guez said there was a similar trial program several years ago but demand was small.

Student reactions to this trial program were generally enthusiastic. Some students like Kat Flaherty ’15, who lives about 40 minutes from campus, said the service would be useful when she goes home by public transportation. Liz Zharovsky ’15 agreed, “It’s ridiculous to have to pay $10 for a round trip on the commuter rail every time we want to go into Boston.” Newton has a T stop, while Waltham does not and the T fare averages less than $2 each way.

Other students, like Leah Staffin ’15, would use the shuttle for academic opportunities. “It would make travel a lot easier for education students” who have to gain experience working with students in local schools off campus, Staffin said.