Traveller route changes prompt community-wide response

by Courtney Knight

Washington and Lee’s Traveller Safe Ride busses have begun operating on a single 14-stop route, ending the longstanding city and country line model.

Traveller transitioned to the new route at the end of September after announcing in an email to students that busses would run on a no-transfer system, a decision intended to better assist the students living in the newly-built Upper Division Village and to make the Traveller transit system less confusing for all students.

The Traveller Steering Committee believed the switch to a single route made sense because the city route was underutilized and the need to transfer from one bus to another only complicated students being able to get home safely.

“We feel strongly that changing the route to one extended path will be a huge positive change for the entire student body” said Traveller Chair Caroline Brassfield, ’17.

The changes did not come without controversy, as the Steering Committee also initially announced that the Cabins, off-campus homes located down Route 60 on Lone Star Lane and Southland Trace, would be taken off of the bus route. However, Traveller officials noted that residents of the Cabins could still enlist Traveller’s services on nights of planned events for the remained of the academic year, as well as call Traveller Dispatch any day of the week.

“By accommodating these students now living off route with the dispatch system, we can be much more confident that they will be able to get home safely and quickly whenever they call our line,” Brassfield said.

But students living at Cabins said they were upset to hear that they would no longer receive bus service.

We were really frustrated by the changes,” said Catherine Fonvielle, ’17, a Cabins resident. “Because there is less capacity with Dispatch, it has created concern about securing a ride from Dispatch earlier in the night to avoid getting stuck if they are too busy.”  

Due to student concerns, Traveller notified students on Sept. 28 that Cabins would be added back to the routine bus route.

With the longer combined route, students will likely face inconveniences like having to ride the bus for a longer period of time, regardless of whether they live in the city or the country.

But some students realize that the system is beneficial even with compromises.

“Students hold pretty entitled opinions when it comes to Traveller- people want to go where they want to go immediately, which is just not plausible” said Caroline Sanders, ’17, Kappa Hill resident.  “Now the third years have the ease not having to switch busses and everyone is guaranteed to have a safe ride home at the end of the night.”