The University of Maryland RHA Senate on Tuesday debated a proposal urging DOTS to explore a new bus route between north campus dorms and South Campus Commons during the day.
The resolution, authored by La Plata Hall senator Doron Tadmor, a sophomore finance and international business major, calls for the Department of Transportation Services to look into a pilot program for an express bus route to provide “efficient and effective” transportation between the two areas, according to the resolution.
The proposed route would operate from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, going from Eppley Recreation Center, through Valley Drive to Campus Drive to the South Campus Commons region and back.”
“If this is a kind of issue that students have said is an issue and something they want, it’s our job to make sure that that’s heard,” said Residence Hall Association President Dana Rodriguez.
DOTS currently provides service between the two areas with the 115 Orange and 122 Green bus routes, but unlike the proposed route, these shuttles begin operation after 5:30 p.m. on weekdays.
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The new bus route would allow students to participate in activities they couldn’t previously, in buildings including the business school, public policy school, the ERC and the Hillel Center, among others, because of long commute times, according to the resolution.
The resolution also cited a lack of adequate dietary options for some students on north campus who must travel to the South Campus Commons region for meals as a reason for DOTS to explore the new route.
During the debate, senators raised questions about the route and how it would operate. Celeste Corona, a sophomore environmental science and policy and government and politics major, said new bus routes would mean cuts to existing routes.
“I don’t know how I feel about sending forth a formal resolution without talking to [the Transportation Advisory Committee] or DOTS about the feasibility of whether this can happen,” said Bryan Gallion, chief information officer and a junior journalism major.
Another senator asked why the Green bus route couldn’t extend its hours to operate during the day.
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“Given that DOTS relies on self-generated revenue, I know there is a huge financial consideration when it comes to adding a new bus line,” Tadmor said. “The purpose of this bill would be [to] ask DOTS to look into such a program and work with TAC, RHA and [the Student Government Association] to look at the logistics.”
After nearly two hours of debate, the Senate voted 29-10, with no abstentions, to assign the proposed resolution to the committee for further discussion.
“We’ll discuss [the resolution] and see if it’s a viable option,” said Transportation Advisory Committee Chair Aaron Abshire, a freshman enrolled in letters and sciences. “We have to consider costs and if students will actually use the route.”
The committee will meet with DOTS Director David Allen on Dec. 8 to discuss the proposal, Abshire said.
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story said the committee will meet with DOTS Director David Allen on Dec. 1. The committee will meet with Allen on Dec. 8. This story has been updated.