Brenda Shepard, Broadside Correspondent

Gunston’s Go-Bus continues its service to George Mason University students this semester, allowing them to travel off campus to places including Fair Oaks Mall, Fair Lakes Center, Fairfax Corner and University Mall with the use of their Mason ID. The shuttle service makes a stop every half-hour at the Sandy Creek bus stop to pick up and drop off students.

The new shuttle began last spring with a trial program when the Department of Parking and Transportation partnered with Student Government. During this test period, the Go-Bus only ran Thursday through Sunday. It now runs seven days a week, with late night service on Friday and Saturday nights for students who want to head out on the town.

“Last spring we spent about $30,000 . . . we had a few hundred users each week. For the 2009-10 academic year, our forecasted budget is $187,000—nearly 3,000 hours of service,” said Josh Cantor, director of Parking and Transportation.

Though the buses look similar to other shuttles that exist at Mason, their logo is the key indicator for patrons to look for. The Go-Buses have signs in their windows with the Go-Bus logo. All stops are marked with a Gunston Go-Bus logo on them also.

As far as promotion for the new bus system, there has been a good deal of advertising put into the new route.

“We have listed it in almost every communication [and] have posted the schedules at all stops on campus to cross market it,” said Cantor.

Cantor also commented on future promotional plans for the Go-Bus.

“We plan on working with the shopping centers on helping promote it more as well as working with the Mason Money office now that Mason Money is expanding to many locations in the Fairfax area,” said Cantor.

Many students have reacted positively to the Go-Bus.

“It’s a great idea. Getting to the mall via CUE bus was a nightmare that once found me on the curb of Germantown at 11 p.m.,” said sophomore global affairs major Olivia Fivek.

Students also like the Go-Bus because it ensures a safe ride on weekends.

“I love it! For the night ride to Old Town Fairfax, it was even more enjoyable because we met people we knew on the way . . . The Go-Bus brings people together and ensures the safety of Mason students,” said Alison Jones, a senior marketing major.

Guston’s Go-Bus will undoubtedly take some time to become a mainstay for students, but with service running to several hot spots, it is expected to become a more popular service. According to an e-mail from Bob Tennant, Transportation Coordinator of Parking and Transportation at Mason, Guston’s Go-Bus carried 811 passengers during the first week of classes alone.

“It is a good use of money so far. Like any new program, it takes time to build it up through constant marketing and word of mouth. We look at it in the long-term, offering options to students so they don’t have to drive in the region—and for resident students to perhaps lessen the need to have a car,” said Cantor.