Once again, Hopkins is tied for ninth place in the U.S. News and World Report’s “Best National Universities” category. While we are grateful to attend a University that affords us so many incredible resources, one very basic resource doesn’t live up to this standard: transportation.
Our high ranking is the accomplishment of all the University’s schools; as such, they should be well-connected. How can students take advantage of all the interdisciplinary opportunities Hopkins offers if they can’t even get to the Peabody Institute just a few miles down North Charles Street?
The University knows that relatively few students have their own vehicle, as the lack of student parking discourages most from making such a big purchase. Moreover, students cannot be expected to have the funds to cover expensive Lyft or Uber rides just to be able to make it to class.
According to the University, it’s easy to travel between campuses: Peabody, for example, claims buses come every 15 minutes and Homewood claims the trip between campuses “is easy, safe, and convenient for students.” The University is also expected to provide bus tracking using the TransLoc app to update affiliates on expected travel times.
This is far from reality. Some students are left waiting at stops for over 30 minutes with no idea when the next bus will arrive or if they should make alternative travel plans. While some JHMI shuttle stops coincide with other public transit lines, there’s no other convenient and timely way to get from Homewood to the East Baltimore medical campus, for instance, without a vehicle.
Plus, this isn’t the first time students have experienced issues with University-provided transit. In April, the University offered students transportation to and from the M&T Bank Stadium mass vaccination site, but students reported overcrowded vehicles and inconsistencies in pickup and drop-off times.
We know Hopkins is not in charge of the Charm City Circulator’s schedule (though not paying property taxes certainly doesn’t help). All we ask is that the University honor its commitment to provide convenient transportation between campuses.
Beginning today, the Homewood-Peabody-JHMI route will be running on a temporary modified schedule, with buses expected every 10 minutes during peak rush times and every 15 to 30 minutes otherwise. Unfortunately, TransLoc will remain out of commission, making it even more imperative that the shuttle actually arrives according to schedule.
While we appreciate this solution, solving the issue of transportation should have been prioritized and resolved before campus reopened.
In an email to the Peabody General Assembly, the Johns Hopkins Transportation Manager reassured students that their concerns over the JHMI had been heard and that although the University hoped to have the system running efficiently before the semester started, students can expect permanent improvements come October.
Peabody Institute dual degree students and researchers on the medical campus are not the only ones who require extensive use of the shuttle system. Public Health majors are required to take classes at the School of Public Health in East Baltimore, for example, and Station North is home to courses in the film and media studies department.
Outside of graduation requirements, the University should encourage students to take advantage of the unique resources at these other campuses, from music lessons to speaker series and museums. Streamlining transportation between these locations would be a great start.
We hope that the newly released JHMI schedule satisfies student need for transportation across Baltimore. Going forward, Hopkins must ensure that its students are not stranded while trying to take advantage of the University’s opportunities.