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Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Opinion: Commuting to the Spring Valley Building is difficult for many students

University should consider changes to the bus system

Picture this: you have an 8:10 a.m. class. The professor ends on time, so you get out at 9:25. Your next class starts at 9:45. That’s plenty of time to walk across campus, right? Yes, but not if you’re going to the Spring Valley Building. The 20-minute break between classes is barely enough time to make it from Kerwin to Spring Valley. If your professor holds you for an extra three minutes, you will almost definitely be late to class. 

When I checked my schedule in August, I found myself in a dilemma: How was I supposed to get from Battelle to the Spring Valley Building in 20 minutes? Walking wasn’t an option – you will never ever see me jogging my way up or down a hill to class. I know I was not alone in my original reaction of concern. I ended up dropping a class and switching around my schedule so my Spring Valley class is the only one of the day, but others are not so lucky. 

On paper, going from main campus to Spring Valley and back does not seem like it would be such a mountain to climb, especially since the buses are back to full capacity. Unfortunately, the reality is much less efficient. The buses are often late, through no real fault of their own, leaving students waiting at the bus stops in a bind.

What are students with physical disabilities supposed to do? They too often are given the short end of the stick by the University and this is no exception. If their disabilities prevent them from being able to walk from Spring Valley to main campus, they are left to rely on an unreliable shuttle. Students without disabilities could at least attempt to sprint from Spring Valley to main campus, but those with disabilities might not. 

Regardless of disability status, will a professor tolerate a student being late every single Tuesday and Friday? Halfway through the semester, the jury is still out on that one. 

While the University did introduce the green route, which offers service exclusively between east campus, main campus and Spring Valley, it is plagued by the same problem the other routes face: a proclivity for being late. 

In my view, AU has several ways they can fix this issue. An option could be an on-demand shuttle system, similar to the one offered during the MRSE. Students who need to get back to main campus or Spring Valley in 20 minutes or less for class could take a shuttle ride instead of waiting for the bus. The shuttles could run between Spring Valley and main campus. While the shuttles accommodate less passengers than the buses, AU could have several going at a time and they will certainly prove helpful to many. In addition, the University might also look into sponsoring a bike or a scooter system. Students could then ride or scooter to and from Spring Valley in less time than it would take to walk, ensuring they get to class on time. 

The hike to Spring Valley and back again is certainly manageable with help from the University. More reliable transportation or other resources would help ease the mad dash. Students would get to class on time without having to worry. Professors wouldn’t have to worry about students being late. 

The distance between Spring Valley and main campus is far, but it does not have to be impossible. 

Riley Lorgus is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences and an opinion columnist for The Eagle.

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