Waltham has emerged as a vibrant and dynamic community over the past few years, earning the distinction as one of the three hottest neighborhoods in the Boston area. The city continues to develop its businesses and cultural centers, creating the opportunity for increased interaction with its college-aged constituents.

As students at Brandeis, we have continually maintained a positive relationship with the Waltham community. However, as residents of this neighborhood, it is imperative that we interact with and shape the continual development of Waltham.

Yet, this potential interaction has been somewhat hindered by the mismanagement of the BranVan service. Brandeis prides itself on its integration into the Waltham community, but without an effective transportation medium, students cannot effectively partake in Waltham's growth. Students have continually struggled with the van service's problems with punctuality, limited stops and, most importantly, its lack of accountability to students.

Therefore, this board proposes that the Escort Services remedy these shortcomings with a more diverse range of drop-off locations, a GPS system, and increased attentiveness to students' requests.

Escort Services should note the BranVan's limited route throughout Waltham. Members of the campus community greatly rely on this service as a means of transportation throughout the city and, particularly, to and from Brandeis. Students live in far-off parts of Waltham, shedding light on the necessity for a more expansive route. Also, as previously mentioned, students should seek to integrate themselves into this ever-growing commercial community. We believe this integration would be more feasible with an expanded Waltham BranVan route.

Moreover, if the Escort Service chooses to implement a GPS tracking system, students will greatly benefit from the ability to track and monitor the location of BranVans both on campus and off.

Consequently, they will not have to resort to estimating the van's arrival time, which is particularly relevant in light of the frigid temperatures that the campus experienced this past week.

With a GPS system, students would be directly aware of the vans' locations, allowing them to plan their schedule accordingly.

Finally, employees of the Escort Service must be sure to stop at all marked BranVan stops, as students often wait inside businesses during inclement weather, occasionally leading to students missing their chance to get on the van.

Waltham Mayor Jeannette A. McCarthy stated in a December 2011 article for the Waltham News Tribune, "I would like to open up those lines of communication [with Brandeis] again to see what they're doing." Improving the students' experiences with BranVans is a step in the right direction.