Since its inception, this escort service has grown to an $800,000 program with 19 vans, two buses and 25 full-time employees. In 2006, the program was responsible for the transportation of more than 120,000 students.Yet despite the increased amount of vans and employees, long wait times, lack of operators, and general disorganization now plague the program. In the most recent GW Hatchet, sophomore Bradley Dlatt expounds on this dilemma:
As most students know, the service is almost never readily available. Students are stuck on hold for long periods of time during peak hours while an operator attempts to coordinate the available vans and the volume of phone calls. This is a very serious problem that has been known to students for quite some time, and yet continues to go unchanged.At the heart of the problem lies a clear identity crisis. 4-RIDE was created originally to provide safety, not transportation, to George Washington students. Obviously this is not the case today, as evidenced by the nearly hour long wait times that students could face on any given Friday or Saturday night.
Clearly the University needs to restructure 4-RIDE to maximize efficiency and minimize the waiting period. Instead of making reservations by phone, a website should be created that could offer students the luxury of making an appointment hours in advance and eliminate the need to wait on hold. More importantly, a significant amount vans and drivers still need to be added. A fleet of only 19 vans cannot accommodate the needs of more than 10,000 undergraduates. With the addition of more vans, 4-RIDE potentially could expand its routes and even offer transport to designated areas outside of Northwest DC.