When I first moved to Bethesda it was in January 2004.Ã¿ I was returning to AU from taking a semester off and the Office of Housing and Dining informed me that there was no room in the dorms for me. Ã¿ And, since I was a sophomore, I could move into Park Bethesda.Ã¿ I given a month’s rent free for having to move off-campus into an unfurnished apartment and told that there was a shuttle that ran from Park Bethesda to main campus every fifteen minutes.Ã¿ I was told that Park Bethesda was convenient. And that’s what sold me.
I soon learned that I was a victim of false advertising.Ã¿ The shuttle rarely came on time and on the weekends it only ran once every half hour.Ã¿ But I got over it; at least I could get around.Ã¿ So I was late to class every once and a while - it was okay, if I needed to get to campus for a study group on Sunday, I could do it.
Not anymore.Ã¿ I large portion of American University’s upperclassmen, graduate students, and law school students have been abandoned in Bethesda.Ã¿ The shuttle now is half the size of the original shuttles and only runs every half hour, which has lead to over-crowding.Ã¿ You have not commuted unless you have ridden on the Park Bethesda shuttle at 9:30am with your head crammed into some stranger’s armpit, holding on for dear life while the driver tells you to “do not lean on the door” otherwise you’ll fall out.Ã¿ You survive all this only to get to campus, find out your class is cancelled and have wait forty-five minutes for the next shuttle.Ã¿ But then you realize your next class is at 12:45 and if you go to back to Park Bethesda, you won’t have a way to get back to campus because the one and only shuttle driver goes to lunch between 11:30am and 1:30pm.Ã¿ So you’re stuck.
This is the reality off all students who live in Park Bethesda.Ã¿ We’re stuck.Ã¿ It’s too far to walk in the winter and extreme heat, but too close to have shitty shuttle service.Ã¿ I hope you didn’t schedule a 5:30 class; the shuttle driver has his dinner break between 5:00pm and 7:00pm.Ã¿ (I also hope you didn’t get a meal plan; it’s a waste of money anyway - you have a kitchen.)Ã¿ And I hope you aren’t religious, because there is no shuttle service on Sundays.Ã¿ I hope you don’t like to socialize on the weekends; service stops at 8:00pm on Saturdays.Ã¿ I hope you are really close to the other AU students; because you will spend many rides to and from campus with your body parts too close to theirs for comfort.Ã¿ And I really hope you don’t value your life, because sooner or later you’ll be running late for class and end up standing on the shuttle steps hoping that your hands are sweating too much from the heat of being crammed into the shuttle like a sardine, because if you slipp!
God forbid the Park Bethesda shuttle ever got into an accident, the hazardous commuting conditions would leave many AU students hurt. Ã¿
This is the challenge that we, the AU students living in Park Bethesda, give to our institution.Ã¿ Don’t leave us stranded in Bethesda.Ã¿ Supplement our shuttle service with the one that goes straight from the law school to campus (the former Tunlaw shuttle).Ã¿ We need a shuttle every fifteen minutes for safety reason.Ã¿ And really, what’s the point of giving AU all this money every year if we can’t get to class on time and can’t get to the library on weekends and can’t even get out of Bethesda to socialize.Ã¿ We came to school in DC to get a taste of DC.Ã¿ Not Bethesda!Ã¿ Convince us that we’re paying 900 dollars plus a month for a good reason. Ã¿
And if you don’t care about our safety or our grades, do it because you told us it was convenient.Ã¿ And right now, that’s turning out to be a big, fat lie.