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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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MVC shuttle to up hours

University officials said they might add more Mount Vernon shuttle vans next year after use of the service increased by 70 percent over the past year.

Officials are also looking into possibly making the shuttle a 24-hour service, as the campus is set to house strictly freshmen next year.

John Kane, operations manager for the Mount Vernon Campus, attributed the increase in shuttle use to a greater number of classes and events scheduled at Mount Vernon and an increasing resident population.

Kane said he will be calculating peak use hours and looking at the number of classes scheduled at Mount Vernon to determine when more shuttles might be needed. Staff members will look at ridership logs and survey students throughout the next few months.

The service now has eight shuttles.

“This is a very popular campus,” Kane said. “All GW (are attracted to) this campus.”

Craig Linebaugh, associate vice president for Academic Affairs, said 161 class sections are scheduled at MVC for fall 2003, up from 152 in fall 2002. He said classrooms at Mount Vernon typically hold 20 to 25 students, and there are several time slots open if the University needs to schedule more classes.

This semester 138 class sections meet at Mount Vernon, Linebaugh said.

The resident population at Mount Vernon increased 69 percent since 1999, according to Housing Services statistics. Director of Housing Services Andrew Sonn said the number of students living at Mount Vernon will increase next year from 438 to 480 with the renovation of Cole Hall.

In an effort to make the shuttle service more efficient, the service will be shifted next year from Mount Vernon Operations to University Police, which already runs the 4-RIDE escort service. International Limousine Services Inc. will continue to provide the vans and drivers.

UPD Chief Dolores Stafford said GW would be able to save money because UPD already has the infrastructure to run a transportation service. She said UPD would receive funding previously allocated to the shuttle service.

Stafford said UPD is conducting interviews for a new head of transportation who would oversee 4-RIDE and the shuttle service.

Stafford said UPD is currently surveying shuttle riders to find ways to improve the service.

The shuttle service currently stops running at midnight Monday through Thursday, at 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 a.m. on Sundays. Students who need to go to Mount Vernon after the shuttle stops can obtain a cab voucher from UPD.

MVC Executive Dean Grae Baxter said there has not been enough demand to make the shuttle a 24-hour service.

“We don’t want a shuttle (running 24 hours) when two or three people use it in a four-hour period,” Baxter said. “The cost of a (24-hour) shuttle would exceed the cost of giving out cab vouchers.”

Students said they wouldn’t have to curtail their weekend plans if the shuttle ran 24 hours.

“It’d be nice if the shuttle could pick me up after three,” freshman Mount Vernon resident Lauren Wilson said. “If I know I’m going to be late (for the shuttle), I take a cab home. I always plan accordingly.”

“You can get cab vouchers, but you have to wait 45 minutes, so you go home at three,” freshman Mount Vernon resident Briynne Ross said.

Baxter said students have complained about shuttle service delays but cited traffic as a major problem.

“This shuttle is a public transportation system,” Baxter said. “When traffic is backed up, we get backed up. Any person accustomed to taking public transportation is used to that.”

“The service has been excellent, and I think it will continue to be so,” she added.

Some students said the shuttle is unreliable and causes them to be late to class.

“It’s kind of rough (because) it throws off my whole schedule,” Ross said. “I feel like I’ve spent hours of my life on the shuttle.”

“It would be better if they actually would leave when they’re supposed to, on schedule,” she added.

Baxter said she does not anticipate an increase in shuttle use when freshmen comprise the entire resident population of Mount Vernon next year.

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