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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Administration should alert students of local mass transit

Published: September 1, 2006
Section: Opinions

A large part of the Brandeis experience is being able to spend a fair amount of time in the city of Boston. However, during the academic year shuttles only run from Thursday through Sunday for limited hours. Rather than necessarily expand these hours for a limited increase in student usage, the administration should attempt to alert students of other methods of transportation, namely buses run by the MBTA.

One of the biggest problems with the current way that students get in to Boston is the infrequency of the commuter rail. In general, the commuter rail runs about once every hour and a half, while on weekends as little as once every four hours. Getting home from Porter Square on a Saturday night via commuter rail would mean taking the 7:40 train or having to wait until 11:40. Fortunately, the Boston shuttles are running on Saturdays, but getting stranded there for a huge chunk of time would seem unavoidable during weekdays.

Probably the most useful way to remedy this is through the use of mass transit. The most useful bus to a Brandeis student, the 70 bus, runs quite frequently. During the daytime throughout the week the bus runs approximately every twenty minutes from various pickup points in Waltham. The closest stop is close to Walgreens, about a fifteen minute walk from Brandeis. The bus also stops at key locations on its way to Central Square, including the other side of Waltham and the Watertown Mall. Secondly, the price itself of the bus is very cheap at 90 cents a ride, and riders are able to take transfer tickets to other buses. The Commuter Rail, on the other hand, is $3.25 a ride. As a student who stayed at Brandeis over the summer and needed frequent access to Boston, this bus was my savior.

Another useful way of getting to Boston would be taking the 553 bus, which leaves around once an hour and goes to places such as Chinatown and South Station in downtown Boston. The bus picks up riders right in front of Cappys Pizza and near the main gate. While this bus runs less often than the 70 and costs $2.25, it is an easy way of getting around and provides access to places the commuter rail and shuttles do not.

The efforts that the administration has made to provide transportation in the past year has been positive, as last year saw the launch of the daytime shuttles to several key locations around Waltham. Letting students know about the Boston public transit system seems all the more relevant now that they have taken the step in improving access to Waltham. I did not know about these other transportation options at all until my sophomore year at Brandeis and it really would have been useful to have known this from the start, said John Farr 08. Getting to Boston before 4 oclock– the time of the first shuttle run on Fridays (a day many students often dont have classes) and Saturdays– is not nearly as hard as it seems.