EDITORIAL: Wi-Fi is more important than it seems
New transit tracking system can improve student experience
Slated to be fully implemented next fall, the University Department of Transportation Services (DOTS) will be servers after more than a decade. Leaving NextBus behind, DOTS will now adopt TransLoc in hopes of significant improvement in services offered with regard to student transit. The improvement will include onboard Wi-Fi, a reliable bus tracking system and the ability to see how many students are packed onto a specific bus.
As long as these changes are reliable and consistent, most students would likely agree that they are worth it. The bus system is one of the most frustrating aspects of attending Rutgers, and the current application is consistently unreliable. Students often complain of the inaccuracy of the bus times on the Rutgers app and how often it causes them to be late for class — which is interesting because getting students to class is a fundamental importance to the University, whose main goal is presumably to educate its students. The administration of course realizes this, and improving the bus system is something which has recently been afforded a great deal of effort, like the changing of the layout of certain roads, such as College Avenue, and adding more buses to its fleet in hopes of alleviating traffic to transport students more efficiently. Unfortunately, no significant improvement to the efficiency of the system has been blatantly obvious yet. So at this point, a minor improvement in convenience with the switching of tracking systems is hard to discount.
To a non-student, these changes may seem superfluous. Especially when it comes to Wi-Fi on the buses, anyone who does not have to regularly deal with the Rutgers bus system might see it as an unnecessary expenditure in a time when University funding is not exactly abundant. But the fact of the matter is that these changes, including the addition of Wi-Fi, will not only make students’ lives easier, but improve their experiences at the University — if they work.
It is not uncommon for students to spend upward of a total of an hour on Rutgers buses each day going to and from class. In students' busy schedules, they could use all of the extra time they can get to check things off of their extensive daily to-do lists. The inclusion of Wi-Fi on buses will allow students to more easily take care of small tasks while traveling. When buses hit traffic, it can sometimes take even 30 minutes to travel from one campus to another, and Wi-Fi will allow students the option to take out their laptops and do some reading or edit their papers, at least when there is room on the bus to do so.
But in addition to being able to take advantage of time previously wasted, Wi-Fi on the buses might even ease some students’ financial burdens. Data plans for cell phones are not cheap, and if commuters want to use their laptops without Wi-Fi they are simply not able to unless they use an mobile hotspot, which itself uses a significant amount of data. Where they would otherwise be forced to use their costly and limited data plans if they wanted to go on the internet to use, say, Sakai while on the bus, students will now be able to access the internet on their bus rides for free, without worrying about using up their data early.
But this is about more than Wi-Fi — and it is about more than just taking steps toward a bus system that works efficiently for the Rutgers students. Those things, among others, will improve the overall student experience, and anything that works to improve the student experience is valuable. Students are the University’s livelihood, and a good student experience entails the retention of Rutgers’ best and most elite attendees, which in turn results in the school's prestige continuing to rise. At its foundation, though, this change in systems will likely be good for the University as long as it is maintained and remains consistently reliable.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 150th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.