Correction appended.

This semester, the BranVan is beginning a new online reservation system, according to a Sunday email announcement from Student Union President Ricky Rosen '14. The new service went live yesterday at 3:30 p.m., according to head of Escort Services Rupert Thomas '14.

Students will be able to reserve vans by accessing the online reservation system utilizing their Brandeis user IDs. Rosen's email directs students to visit either or to reserve a seat.  "There are no fundamental differences between the new and old system besides allowing riders to reserve their own vans; all rules still apply as per normal and are enforced through the systems built in restrictions placed on users," Thomas wrote in an email to the Justice. 

Thomas wrote that the idea came about last semester in "response to my attempts to make the workings of the Escort Safety Service department more transparent."

The system was created last semester, according to Thomas. The fall 2013 semester served as a trial run period, during which it was only accessible to Escort employees. BranVan technologist Ethan Roseman '15 said in an interview with the Justice that over the fall semester, he worked out some of the bugs in the system and added features for the coordinators. According to Roseman, the system was finished over winter break.

"The aim of this new system is to empower our consumer base which is the Brandeis community, by placing the power to reserve BranVans in their hands," Thomas wrote.

According to Thomas, the University hired student technologist Roseman, who worked with Thomas independently to help take BranVan reservations online.

According to Roseman, Alex Bardasu '15 laid down the initial website.

However, Roseman said that "he got kind of busy," so Bardasu reached out to the Library and Technology Services Help Desk, which is where Roseman works. "I said I'd like to help with it, and he kind of handed it over to me," Roseman said.
There was no actual cost of implementation, according to Thomas, however, all hours put into the creation of the system by Roseman and Thomas were charged to the Escort Safety Service Department.

In addition to the new online reservation systems, Thomas wrote that University students can expect all BranVans and Joseph's Transportation buses to be outfitted with GPS tracking devices that will "place the ability to track the locations of vans and buses in the hands of all our users in the coming months."

Thomas declined to comment further on the GPS tracking system initiative.

-Tate Herbert contributed reporting

Ethan Roseman is a member of the Class of 2015, not 2016, as originally reported.