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Georgetown student shuttles get GPS treatment

by GPS4US 2013-09-24 13:31

In an effort to keep Georgetown University students safe and improve communication, the school is fitting its SafeRide student shuttles with GPS units that allow users to track the van’s location with their smartphone.

This update addresses a safety concern of students waiting outside for shuttles that may or may not be on schedule. The program advises students to wait inside for their ride, but that can lead to miscommunication between riders and drivers.

Students felt they had to wait outside because they didn’t know when the van was coming — that made them feel uncomfortable,” Jay Gruber, Georgetown University’s chief of police, told the school’s student paper, The Hoya. “Our goal is to keep students safe, to keep them inside a safe area until the van is close, and now they have a great opportunity to see when the van is close and come out just before the van arrives.”

The vans operate seven days a week, from 8 p.m. -2 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Students are now given an estimated time of arrival, along with the ability to track their van’s location on a free smartphone app.

“You see these S’s just zinging over the Burleith and West Georgetown areas,” Gruber told The Hoya. “If you get to the real granular level, it’s just pinging right along, so you’ll know when that SafeRides van is a block or so away easily.”

The plan was met with approval from students.

“It’s not safe to be waiting outdoors, and now you can be warm and indoors while you wait,” Georgetown student Sharanya Venkataraman told The Hoya. “There have been a couple times where I’ve had to wait a while for the van, and it would definitely help me feel safer if I knew when it was coming or where it was.”

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