On Sept. 9, Director of Faculty of Housing and Transportation Peter Eastment, issued a statement by email stating that the Peter Pan bus will no longer shuttle students to Natick Mall on Saturdays. Instead, two JFK vans will be used to transport students from Wellesley College to the mall and adjacent movie theater. JFK already serves as the local Babson-Olin-Wellesley (BOW) shuttle.
Two weeks after the statement, Wellesley students were curious about the reasons behind those changes. Some upper class women who took the JFK van to Natick assumed that there was a problem with transportation funding. Jordan Dervishian ’19, who was used to taking the Peter Pan bus last year, thinks that the Department of Housing and Transportation is trying to save money by replacing the large green Peter Pan buses with the smaller white JFK vans.
“My first guess as to why the transportation department decided to change the bus is the lack of funding using Peter Pan or a revision of where transportation funds should go. I have always been aware that there is a much smaller group of students that go into Natick as opposed to the much larger group that go into Boston, so maybe they did not find it necessary to use the larger buses”. Bianca Shavers Rivera ’17, who was not even aware of the changes when she was waiting for the bus this last Saturday, said.
According to Peter Eastment, the change of bus companies providing service for the Natick Movie-Mall Shuttle was made with the goal of increasing the number of departures from campus. In the past, the Natick Mall and Movie-Max shuttle ran every two hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.,which made it difficult to accommodate students who wanted to leave at different times. “With the two JFK shuttles, the plan is to schedule departures every hour on the hour starting at 11 a.m. and running until 9 p.m.,” Eastment explained.
On the other hand, some upperclassmen admit that this plan will affect their experience with the Natick Mall shuttle in a very different way, especially because of the small size of the vans. One of the students concern is the compactness of the JFK vans. Rivera thinks that the new experience will rub students off in one of two ways: ‘it will either be great to start more interesting and unexpected conversations or it will be the onset of a little intimidation and discomfort for some within the traveling community.’
In addition, the Department of Housing and Transportation has enacted other changes, namely one in the style of the bus tokens used as fare for rides. “The change in tokens was because the supply of gold tokens was running low and we wanted to implement a more Wellesley distinctive token. Thus, the blue tokens with the Wellesley ’W’ on them,” Eastment clarified. However, the new tokens unfortunately proved to be incompatible with Wellesley’s token machines. The Department of Housing and Transportation is still in the process of exchanging them for similar tokens that will work in the machines.
Despite all the changes that are being planned this semester to facilitate students’ transportation, the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) wishes that they had more students serving on the board and is looking forward to getting more students involved this year to make transportation more accessible and efficient for Wellesley students. Students are encouraged to contact Chandra Boudreau, the SOAC Appointments Coordinator at SOACAPPPT@wellesley.edu.