Who will pay for our blurps?

 

Last week, the SGA Senate voted 19-18 against funding Blirpit, the bus tracking system, for another year.

The Cynic believes that the SGA made the right call in deciding not to pay for Bliripit, because it shouldn’t be their responsibility. Blirpit is not a student club or organization, but a private business.

The programs catchy tag is actually an acronym for Bus Line Information Retrieval Program. It was created by UVM students Mike Fogg and Nick Godin — who are forever on the Cynic Christmas list —and it allows students to track on- and off-campus buses through texting or checking the website.

Blirpit is an innovative service used by many UVM students, and it should be fully funded by the University.  It enables students to know exactly where the bus is in real time, cutting down on time spent waiting at the bus stop – a major advantage in the winter.

Since it’s inception, Blirpit has reached Brandeis University, Bentley College and several towns in Massachusetts. Its obvious the idea is catching on, and for good reason.

The annual cost of Blirpit is just $6,000 – a paltry amount in terms of the University’s $364 million FY 2010 budget.

The SGA shouldn’t have had to fund the program in the first place – it’s role isn’t to be a source of funding for “guinea pig” programs at UVM. We are thankful that they footed the bill for a while, but it’s UVM’s turn. 

UVM should jump at the opportunity to fund Blirpit. Weeknight and weekend bus service is notoriously unpredictable, Blirpit is a cost-effective solution to running more buses.

The Cynic has reported on disorderly students waiting for and riding the late-night off-campus “Drunk Bus.” This only further complicates Burlington’s town-gown relations.

If students knew exactly when the bus would arrive, large crowds would not form at bus stops twenty minutes early waking up neighbors and harassing the burly men in yellow coats.

By identifying the exact location of buses on their routes, Transportation Services could ensure that buses are running on schedule, and make any necessary changes to service to best serve UVM students.

The Cynic hopes the administration can realize how valuble of a resource Blirpit is to us and that they keep a new technology from becoming a thing of the past.