Student outrage towards Gold Zone is unwarranted

Carl Vidrine, Associate Views Editor

The following is an opinion article and opinion articles do not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

The ill will students have expressed towards the Gold Zone is wrongheaded and misplaced. While the Gold Zone no longer provides the campus or residence to commercial establishment option, this change was not due to incompetence or a lack of planning. According to Tulane Shuttles and Transportation Services, when the department met with students and formed focus groups, the students overwhelmingly stated their primary concern was campus to residence transportation, and in this area, the Gold Zone excels. 

The Gold Zone Coordination Center functions with both simplicity and efficiency. A single coordinator sits at a chair with three iPad screens, monitoring the locations of the vehicles, answering phone calls and adding pick-up points for students who cannot do so from the app. Seven vehicles sweep across the Uptown area picking up students with much more efficiency than SafeRide did. Though SafeRide provided more options for transportation, it was an outdated system that had been expanded beyond its intended setup. The system tried to serve the needs of both nightlife transportation and regular transportation, and was unable to do both. The Gold Zone has chosen a single need to fulfill and is accomplishing it. 

The Gold Zone will soon field two more vehicles, vans designed to be easy to clean, with bike carriers on the front. Students who live off campus have found the service extremely helpful, especially after they have been studying late at the library or the Lavin-Bernick Center. 

The efficiency with which the Gold Zone operates is proof that Transportation Services, and the Tulane administration are willing to listen to student demands and have the resources, competency and ability to design a system capable of servicing large numbers of students. 

If students, however, think that on-demand transportation to commercial establishments is essential, they must bring this to the attention of USG and the administration. Motioning to develop this type of system is especially important in light of the recent near-campus robberies. The transportation department could either expand the capabilities of the Gold Zone, or, better yet, create a separate system to serve the Tulane community that is more far reaching than the new Uptown Loop.

This shuttle only runs through uptown neighborhoods including New Freret District, Maple St, Oak St, the Carrollton Riverbed, and the Loyola Law School campus. While these shuttle stops are not bad, they still leave a lot to be desired by the typical Tulane student. This desire should be pushed forward by student activism, rather than expecting transportation services to know what students want. 

Carl Vidrine is a junior in the Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached for comment at [email protected]