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Committee meets to address van service

The new Transportation Advisory Committee, a working title, met Friday, Oct. 14 to discuss expanding or adjusting the Mills van service, how to dispel any misinformation about transportation to and from campus and make transportation options known to the community.

Public Safety Director Dan Brown broke down the average use of the Mills Van. Records of the number of riders on each have been tallied over the last two or three weeks and show that some runs have no riders while others have up to six on average.

Serving on the committee are three student representatives: Rebecca Townsend, freshwoman class president; Talia Benson, a freshwoman; and Jasmine Worrell, a second year MBA student; in addition to seven staff members.

Townsend suggested that the committee make visibility a goal and said, “There is a lot of misinformation out there and there are a lot of horror stories. If you were going to do anything, I’d suggest you correct the misinformation.”

The need to make students aware of their options when riding the van was also discussed. For example, according to Transportation and Parking Supervisor Darnita White, if a student is going to the Tang Center for urgent care, they need to tell the driver to drop them off in front of the center. The student can call Public Safety and a van driver will be notified that on the next run a student needs to be picked up at the Tang Center.

Parking concerns have added to van service issues. Because of a shortage of spaces on campus at peak hours, the committee agreed on the need to encourage carpooling, emphasizing its benefits to the environment and to people’s pocketbooks – given the average price of gasoline.

Director of Central Systems and Administrative Computing Marshall Northcott recently started a Mills carpooling Web site as a solution to these problems.

As of Friday, 57 students had signed up on the site, according to Northcott. The site can be accessed by logging into MyMills at the bottom of the Mills College homepage.

Associate Vice President of Administration Karen Maggio was excited about the possibilities that could come out of such a committee, such as implementing incentives for carpoolers.

Students will be surveyed in the coming weeks about how transportation issues can be solved.