A number of major changes to the Saferide routes are set to go into effect at the start of next month. The changes include updates to the Boston routes and a restructuring of the Cambridge routes, which will affect members of fraternities and sororities and graduate students living around MIT.
The Boston West shuttle will be affected by two changes. The first change is the removal of the 32 Hereford Street stop in front of the Chi Phi fraternity, which will also impact the nearby Tau Epsilon Phi (tEP) and Phi Kappa Theta (PKT) fraternities.
According to the MIT Interfraternity Council (IFC) Risk Manager Daniel D. Wang ’16, the original proposal moved the Chi Phi stop to the Boston East route. However, he said that this was infeasible because the road layout would have made the route inefficient by increasing the round-trip time of the shuttle.
Wang also stated that Chi Phi and the neighboring fraternities were supportive of the change. “After multiple proposals and meetings to negotiate the removal of the Chi Phi stop, it was decided that the stop would indeed be removed from the Boston East route,” said Wang in an email to The Tech.
The second change to the Boston West route involves the addition of stops in Cambridgeport along Pearl St. and Brookline St. The shuttle will no longer go to the Kenmore Square or Chi Phi stops after the stops at Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) and Epsilon Theta (ET). Instead, the shuttle will go through Cambridgeport both to and from Brookline, according to Wang.
The frequency of the Boston East shuttles will be doubled between 6-10 p.m., with shuttles running every 10 minutes during those hours.
In addition, the stops along Bay State Road will be removed from the Boston East route, affecting the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), Phi Delta Theta (Phi Delts), Theta Xi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Beta Theta Pi (BTP) fraternities. “[The changes were] unavoidable as the Bay State Association and the city of Boston objected to the presence of the large Boston East shuttle on Bay State Road,” said Wang.
A new stop will be added at the intersection of Silber Way and Commonwealth Avenue to replace the Bay State stops, which is one block away from Bay State Road.
The stops for the Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, and Sigma Kappa sororities along Commonwealth Ave. will remain unchanged.
Cambridge West and East
The Cambridge West route will lose the Cambridgeport stops north of Sidney St. and will gain stops on Main St. to form the new Saferide Tech Shuttle, which will loop around campus. The Cambridge East route will be merged with the Somerville shuttle while losing most of its central campus stops, which will become part of the Saferide Tech Shuttle.
According to Wang, the process of drafting the updated Saferide routes fairly represented all of the students impacted by the routes. “The original proposals were submitted to students for feedback during the summer months and the information was widely distributed,” said Wang.
Wang did mention that there were transparency issues at the outset regarding the requirements from the city of Boston and from the MIT Parking Office.
Yasmin C. Inam ’15, President of the Panhellenic Association, added that the negotiations were difficult because of both the number of parties involved and the constraints of the roads themselves. She also mentioned that small modifications to the routes may be made based on data that is collected after the new routes are implemented.
Overall, Wang said he felt that he and Inam, among other undergraduate and graduate student representatives, were able to reach an outcome that benefited most parties.
Wang wrote, “The IFC, Panhellenic Association and Graduate Student Council all signed off on the new routes, so almost every student significantly affected by the routes has been represented fairly.”
“While better explanation could have been provided early on for why routes were proposed a certain way, overall I feel like good effort was put into hearing us out and finding the best solution possible,” said Inam.