CWRU transportation missed the bus

Pup peeves

Every Case Western Reserve University student, regardless of major or year, has the common denominator of a commute to class. Like most things at CWRU, those commutes bring us together because they cause us grief. A few months ago CWRU officials said they would examine changes in our campus transit system. Like many suggested improvements at CWRU, this one too has quietly disappeared.

Greenies still run every 23 minutes, and NextBus still promises us we’ll be able to board “in two minutes” every 10 minutes. They still exist as mysterious, flighty vehicles that may or may not go where you think they’re going. They still connect poorly or not at all with services offered by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA). SafeRide drivers are still overworked, understaffed and treated by students as a personal taxi system that should ferry them from the front door of one building to the front door of another. Even then we still complain about every detail of the system.

Part of the problem is transit doesn’t work the way CWRU students think it does. The other part of the problem is transit doesn’t work the way the administration thinks it ought to. Bus lines like the Greenie, research has shown, function best when service is frequent (every 10-15 minutes). It should be obvious and clearly-marked with large, bright signs—clear “you are here”-type signs—and easy-to-use maps. Prediction services should be accurate and reliable, not flashing “two minutes” for 10 minutes. Stations should be large, brightly lit structures that obviously cater to whatever line they serve, not a signpost by the side of the road where two or three lines stop with no distinction.

SafeRide should function as a supplemental service to Greenies, not as their replacement late at night, even though SafeRide currently ends late at night itself. SafeRide is not a taxi service, but students treat it as such. It cannot efficiently take everyone it picks up to their own front door and simultaneously be efficient and on time. I would need a fleet analogous to a small-town taxi service to do so. What it can function as is akin to a paratransit system, that is an on-call service for students in extraneous circumstances that need to get somewhere where the one to two block trip from Greenie stop to front door is out of reach, whether due to the late hour, out-of-the-way location or inability to do so.

Furthermore connections with GCRTA should be obvious and easy to use. The Red Line runs every 15 minutes, so a student taking the Greenie can never hope to catch it when they only come every 23 minutes. The HealthLine runs anywhere from every five to every 20 minutes depending on the hour of the day; as such the Greenie should serve any and all HealthLine stops obviously and clearly on any route that travels Euclid Avenue. Other buses and services running on campus stop at different stops than the Greenie, causing an unneeded walk for no real reason.

These are only some suggestions. The potential conflict of interest in Standard Parking running transit services should be looked into; their mission statement concerns cars, not people and transit. An entire Civil Engineering department exists at CWRU to rely on. The usual excuses offered by administration, such as lack of money and time, wear thin when students already shell out such high tuition and parking fees. If we can think beyond the car, we can get there.

Zak Khan doesn’t even go here anymore, but they have a lot of feelings and angry barking.