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SU partners with GSA to reintroduce Riverside shuttle

By Abigail Gardener

Section: News

March 10, 2017

The Student Union, in partnership with the Graduate Student Association, reinstituted the Riverside shuttle earlier this month.

The shuttle to Newton’s Riverside T station was introduced to campus for the fall 2016 semester and discontinued in December of the same semester due to “overall cost of the program and low ridership numbers,” according to an email sent to all students from the Office of Graduate Student Affairs.  

Another contributing factor to the cancellation of the shuttle was lack of publicity. “Ultimately they decided that the ridership wasn’t enough to justify the cost, but really I think that was mainly a result of failure to advertise enough, because a lot of people didn’t even know about it until they heard it was canceled,” said Class of 2019 Senator and Chair of the Services and Outreach Committee Hannah Brown.

The Riverside shuttle was originally a project instituted by the Graduate Student Association, and was mainly targeted to graduate students, according to Brown. Some undergraduate students utilized it as well, but not many, she said.

After the discontinuation, Student Union Director of Communications and Academic Involvement Jacob Edelman ’18 received an email stating that the Riverside shuttle cancellation was problematic, because many students had the potential to use it or were using it already, Brown said. After some research, the Union realized the project had been a graduate student service and reached out to the Graduate Student Association to begin discussion.

“We ended up scheduling a few meetings, talking about it,” Brown said. “We had room in our budget to provide for it, and it was just a lot of collaboration, seeing that there was the need on both sides. It was a good way to even set up a link for us to communicate in the future.”

Rather than being a strictly graduate student service, the Riverside shuttle is now being provided as a service to both undergraduate and graduate students. It is funded by the Student Union budget’s fundraising fund, according to Brown.

The Union hopes that students will be more aware of the shuttle this time, and realize more opportunities for commuting or internships are possible. “We’re hoping with the new shuttle instatement, maybe with some better advertising, and people knowing that … they can go intern in Boston or commute, it will get increased ridership over time,” Brown said.

Students have already responded to the Riverside shuttle’s return. “I’ve already seen some pretty nice feedback. I know a few of us [Student Union members] posted in the class pages and everybody seemed pretty receptive and excited to see that it was back,” Brown said.

As with last semester, the shuttle runs on weekdays, from 7-10 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. It provides transportation from Spingold Theater and Admissions to the Riverside T station with various stops in between. The only change made is that the shuttle will be smaller, which will be more cost efficient, Brown said. The official schedule with times and stops can be found on the Department of Public Safety’s website.  

Brown hopes students continue to give feedback to the Student Union so that they can continue to make positive change for the Brandeis community. “All of us on the Union really appreciate when people reach out to us with their concerns and with a specific thing that we can address,” she said. “It really gives us an opportunity to do something meaningful that will really help people out. As you can see, when people reach out to us, we do our best to address the issue.”

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