EDITORIAL: Encourage the University to improve BranVan efficiency
Recently, BranVans and Boston/Cambridge shuttles alike have been experiencing an increase in demand, which has resulted in overcrowding and, in some cases, students being stranded because of the lack of space. This board urges the University to continue putting more shuttles and Waltham BranVans into rotation to alleviate the overcrowding issue.
The University recently added a second Boston/Cambridge shuttle Saturday at 12:30 p.m., the first shuttle of the day, increasing the number of students who can travel to their destination in a more efficient and timely manner. Before this, many students were not able to get on the shuttle, which could have led to some missing an appointment or a job interview, for example. Many students opt to take this shuttle in order to spend as much time in Boston or Cambridge as possible, but this practice resulted in a high demand that one shuttle could not meet. This board commends this effort, but urges the University to continue this practice during other times of peak demand.
Currently, only one BranVan runs the route into Waltham. According to the Public Safety website, the evening Waltham shuttle makes a full route every 30 minutes and the daytime Waltham shuttle makes a full route every 40 minutes. There is also no 5:30 p.m. Waltham BranVan, leaving students to wait a full hour before the next one and inconveniencing many students who get out of work at 5 p.m. Increasing the number of shuttles and adding a 5:30 p.m. run would cut the amount of waiting time in between shuttles, improving transportation efficiency.
Additionally, only having one shuttle running the route at a time limits the number of students who are able to fit on the vehicle per trip. Although reservations for the BranVan are available and students are encouraged to complete reservations either online or over the phone, this board finds it concerning that a student may not be permitted on the BranVan due to a lack of space. Some BranVan drivers do not check reservations, thereby allowing students who have not made previous reservations to get on the van and disadvantaging those who did complete one in advance. Those students are then forced to wait for the next van — potentially a 40-minute wait.
This becomes even more concerning in a case where an unexpected situation requires students to travel to another part of Waltham or even back to campus. Emergencies happen and having to wait another 40 minutes for another method of transportation might highly inconvenience a student.
For these reasons, this board finds it imperative to introduce more Waltham BranVans, increasing transportation efficiency for students and ensuring they are not denied the means to get where they need to be, especially when unexpected occurrences arise.