Public transportation: An inquiry into getting around at WU

| Forum Editor

Now that I live in Shepley, my hypothesis—that Shepley is the farthest from everything and anything—has been proven correct. Due to this distance problem, I have been forced to reconsider many different methods of transportation. I have experimented with walking, biking and taking the campus circulator. Gather around, my children, as I will tell you the tales of my journeys.

Due to the lack of communication regarding the construction on the South 40, there are only two plausible ways of walking to campus. One route is between JKL and Lee and the other route is all the way around the Wohl Parking Garage. The first method is very dangerous, filled with puddles and freshmen, while the second route makes me understand how it felt to go from New York to California before the Panama Canal was built. The first few days of classes were not conducive to trekking, and the sweltering heat at 10 in the morning made my journey feel more grueling than Frodo’s. I still feel that Clayco should have left a path from the Wohl Center to the Clocktower open.

My experiences with bicycles this semester have not been good. My suitemate’s bike is nothing short of a death trap. Due to lack of maintenance (and usage), the back brakes were nonfunctional, the seat was loose, the tires were flat and the front wheel was pulling to the right. I nearly died the first time I rode it. I was wise enough to leave it alone.

The final method I chose to use was the campus circulator. My experiences with that have been nothing short of terrifying, hilarious and maddening. On some occasions, the driver tries to eliminate the waiting time delay per stop, and you’d better get out of the way in those moments. It does not matter what race, gender or disabilities you have; pray you can jump out of the way in time.

Last year, my friend and I were riding the bus, and the driver rocketed around the turn from Wallace Drive into the Mallinckrodt parking lot. Two poor students had the misfortune of not walking on the sidewalk. The driver came up from behind and honked his horn menacingly. One of the kids probably had to change his pants, and the other exhibited “deer in the headlights” characteristics. On another occasion, it was a bitter winter morning and there was a long line at the Clocktower. Kids were frozen, praying for the campus circulator. He came a little earlier, but kids gratefully clambered aboard. All the kids had boarded, and we noticed a kid on crutches limping toward the bus. Guess what happened next. Bus driver invoked the Pirates’ Rule: Those who fall behind get left behind. The kid started to move faster but was left in the snow. I can’t help laughing as I write this, but it did suck to be that kid that time.

A note to the freshmen: Wash. U. is not a large campus, but when it is snowing and two degrees below zero, your dorm seems like miles away. In general, I suggest using bikes as the best method of transportation. Walking isn’t bad if you aren’t in a rush, but if you are really late or if it is raining, take a deep breath and pray the campus circulator stops for you.

Oh, and remember to register to vote.

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