GRE Argument Essay 219

The following report appeared in a memo from the vice president of the Southside Transportation Authority.

“We should abandon our current five-year plan to purchase additional buses to serve the campus of Southside University, because students there are unlikely to use them. Consider the results of the recent campaign sponsored by the Environmental Club at Southside University: in a program on the campus radio station, the club asked students to call in and pledge that they would commute to school by bus instead of by automobile at least one day per week. Only ten percent of the students called in and pledged. In view of the campaign’s lack of success, we can assume that the bus service we currently offer will continue to be sufficient to serve the university.”

The vice president of the Southside Transportation Authority believes that they should not purchase additional buses for the campus as planned earlier. He is of the view that students are not likely to use these buses as a recent campaign by Environment Club which asked the students to pledge to commute through buses instead of automobiles once a week did not prove to be successful as only ten percent of students turned up for it. Therefore, the vice president assumes that the current bus service would be sufficient in future as well. However, the argument presented by the vice president to support his decision is not strong enough to derive the same conclusion. It can be seen in the discussion given below that different meanings can be taken out from the given argument which make it illogical and incoherent.

First, it would be illogical to rely upon such a campaign conducted by the Environment Club where students are asked to pledge that they would use buses. There cannot be any guarantee that such a campaign would indicate that students would actually abide by their pledge. It is likely that students take such a campaign lightly and do not keep their promise and continue to use automobiles instead of buses.

The writer assumes that if a large number of students had turned in to pledge in the campaign, only then would they require more buses for the campus. However, this assumption is not rational since the choice of students can change in future. Moreover, additional buses could also be required to fulfill the demands of growing student population. It is also likely that in future, the prices of commuting through automobiles increase with increase in prices of petrol etc. and students prefer to travel by buses. In all cases, it can be seen that there is a need of purchasing additional buses and meet the demand irrespective of the pledge taken by students in the campaign.

If the results of the campaign are still to be believed, it can still not be confirmed that a low turnout of students indicates that they prefer going by automobiles than buses. It is likely that the students have not been able to show up for the campaign due to some other reasons. For example, it is possible that the campaign was conducted on a day when the students were engaged in some event of greater interest like university festival or concert than the campaign. It is also possible that the day on which the campaign was conducted was rainy which made students remain indoors rather than show up for the campaign. It is also possible that the campaign was conducted when examinations were nearing which resulted in a low turn up of students. Therefore, it is possible that there are more students interested in taking a pledge for commuting through buses than the number that had turned up for the campaign. In that case, the vice president would have to change his decision regarding purchase of additional buses for the campus.

Clearly, all these implications of the given argument discussed above have been ignored by the vice president. He seems to keep a narrow frame of mind which forces him to form his opinion. However, it is very likely that the demand of buses rises in future and hence the vice president should give it a logical thought and come to a better conclusion.