It’s good to see I haven’t forgotten how to do journalism.
In all seriousness, though, this story was born from a very biased source – myself. When I found the bus stopped running hours before I was done with class, I was not a happy camper. I do believe that one of the tenants of journalism is to find a problem and figure out how to solve it, however. I had originally planned to do a more general overview of the bus system and scheduling issues, but found that West Run Express was both my bus and one of the worst offenders. Plus, the student source I found was a West Run Apartments resident.
One off-putting piece of information that wasn’t usable in terms of this story is who controls who in the public transportation world. WVU pays for students to ride the bus ahead of time, but really has no jurisdiction over Mountain Line. In fact, West Run Apartments themselves dictate the hours and policies regarding the Express bus, and they are a complex made up of older and grad students; exactly the people who would be serious enough about scholarship to cram in summer courses.
David Bruffy was very nice, though, and rather forthcoming with information. I could tell he was also annoyed with the situation. All in all, it seems every decision is born of money. He says that there are budget cuts across the board, as well as on the federal level. They just can’t afford to rock the boat by being too forward with feedback to West Run. If there is a public vote on this issue, I would be fine with doing a follow-up.
I’m still kind of amused with myself for using the WVU summer slogan of “same classes, less traffic.” If you take it the wrong way, it certainly can have negative connotations: Same classes, or classes on the same late schedule as regular semester classes, and less traffic, or no stable public transportation options. Summer@WVU is actually a useful little site they put together, though I wish they had more statistics and metrics. There is something darkly gleeful about taking a positive PR site and using it to show a flaw in the system. Or maybe I’m just a mischievous person.
I never spoke of the PRT, really, because my source never got back to me. To be fair, the PRT services a much more limited area, and the walk from downtown to Evansdale or Medical is pleasant compared to the walk to West Run. And the PRT story has been rehashed so many times, anyway. There’s very little left to say.
My only regret with this story is that I couldn’t get in contact with the women on the West Run Facebook page who was actively trying to get West Run to change it’s bus policies, albeit in the least active forum imaginable. Miss Johnson seemed an interesting character. At any rate, it reassured me that there are others in the same boat who could gain from what this article seeks to accomplish. And though I don’t expect to somehow heal the wounds of Morgantown, maybe someone will stand up and take notice for the second summer session.