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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

MEYERS: Boston shuttles could use revamp

Published: March 25, 2005
Section: Opinions

A large reason that many students chose to attend Brandeis is because of its proximity to the Boston area. Getting to Boston on weekends is usually relatively easy because of the Boston Shuttles that start at 6 p.m. on Thursday, 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. However, the shuttle system could use some drastic changes, especially as finals week and the end of the semester approach.

Last semester, students were dismayed when after finishing a rigorous final, they were unable to celebrate outside of Brandeis and venture into Boston through the Boston Shuttle. Of course the commuter rail is always running, but the price is at least a hefty $3.50 each way, plus the cost of a T token to get anywhere useful. Many students had several free days either before leaving or in between tests to spend with their friends. To be so close to such a large city and not be able to get there in any way that was sponsored by Brandeis is baffling. A majority of the campus was still at school, while many students would have preferred to at least have the option of studying for finals during the daytime and going out to Boston at night. These same issues will most likely emerge during the end of this semester.

Also, the Boston Shuttles hours have been another source of complaint. The departure of the earliest shuttles at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday seem to be the times most subject to scrutiny. Many students do not even have class on Friday, while students remain stranded at Brandeis until late afternoon if they wish to take the free shuttle on Saturdays. Even one shuttle running at 12:30 would be a good option for those who would like to spend a larger portion of the day in the city, rather than forcing them to pay $9.50 round trip or wait until the first shuttle. Secondly, many students have a day without classes during the week but have no viable way of leaving Waltham.

The most important point that should be made about transportation at Brandeis is that students need to be accommodated in getting to the Riverside T-Stop on the Green line, a mere five to ten minutes drive. If transportation were provided to Riverside, students could travel nearly anywhere in Boston through the T while only paying $3.00 each way and not having to wait an hour or more for the commuter rail. If this could be done every day of the week, it would eliminate the problem of the Boston Shuttles not running Monday-Wednesday.

One last issue that is important is having more shuttles to the airport during vacation weeks or at the end of each semester. Currently, students are forced to fend for themselves in most circumnstances in order to get to the airport. Having shuttles going to the airport more frequently during vacation and finals week would be a possible major improvement in the future. Even a small fee to ride would look much more appealing than other alternatives that can run up to fifty dollars to get to the airport.

The Brandeis Shuttle Service is definitely useful to students when it does run. The feeling that many have is that its role should be expanded somehow to allow students better access to Boston, first and foremost the Riverside station. Students deserve to be able to not have to shell out massive amounts of money in order to get in to Boston. The bottom line is this: Brandeis should open Boston to students without having them open their wallets.