Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Riders Decry Longer GUTS Bus Trips

Dupont Circle GUTS buses were permanently rerouted this week, drawing complaints and protests from riders, some of whom found themselves on a bus ride three times as long as last week.

According to Vice President for Facilities and Student Housing Karen Frank, the aim of the route change is to decrease traffic on residential streets of Georgetown in response to concerns voiced by the city and neighbors.

“Our routing of GUTS buses through residential neighborhoods is not a new issue. Neighboring communities have approached us for several years requesting that we develop routes that would keep buses on major roadways and off narrower residential streets,” Frank said.

“Vibrations caused by heavy vehicles traveling in close proximity to 100-year-old homes [are] some cause for their concern about the effects on the fragile structures,” she added.

Prior to this week, buses left campus at the Reservoir Road exit, and traveled along Wisconsin Avenue and Q Street to Dupont Circle. Now, buses turn north on Wisconsin Avenue, run up to the U.S. Naval Observatory, then turn south down Massachusetts Avenue to the end of the route at 20th Street and Massachusetts Avenue.

But these new routes have had the consequence of increasing the time some riders spend on the bus.

Patricia Soler, a professor in the Spanish and Portuguese department, said her afternoon bus was five minutes late in arriving and took 40 minutes, instead of the usual 15, to make its trip.

ost people on Soler’s bus signed a petition that calls for a restoration of the old route.

“All of the passengers started clapping and for our 40-minute drive, the entire bus, including the bus driver, proceeded to only discuss the very topic at hand,” Soler said.

Frank said the route did take longer during certain time of day, but trial runs executed before the change did not indicate that it was necessary to increase the number of buses running.

“During certain periods – rush hours – it did take . five to seven minutes longer. We are going to monitor it this week and see what adjustments might be needed,” she said. “The less-predictable flow of traffic during the morning and evening rush hours, in addition to the slowdowns due to road conditions during paving operations, have added time to each rush hour run, unlike what we found during trial runs and what we announced.”

“It’s crazy for them to assume that a change like that wouldn’t change the time,” said Jason Hill, an employee at the Chevy Chase bank in the Leavey Center.

Soler complained that passengers were not adequately informed of the route change.

“No formal announcement was made. Nobody on campus was informed via e-mail. Nobody, including all of the individuals who work in the hospital [or] graduate students and professors who teach and that ultimately ended up taking cabs in order to be on time,” she said.

Beginning last Friday, the university began distributing flyers on the Dupont Circle GUTS buses to inform riders of the change, Frank said.

The delayed buses have caused long lines, numbering over 100 people during rush hours, at the Leavey Center.

“I have been at Georgetown for nearly 10 years now since starting as an undergraduate student and continuing on to being a doctoral candidate. I have never seen this type of aggravation nor the strength of the ensuing proactive response,” Soler said.

In response to objections, the Office of Auxiliary Services is working to find fitting solutions for the shuttle transportation issue, Frank said.

“[University] staff continues to make trial runs of additional alternate routes in an attempt to find a solution that will be satisfying to more people, both neighbors and riders. Our options are not unlimited, as we must comply with the tariff that allows the university to operate a shuttle service,” Frank said.

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