MTD moves students around UI campus

By Nick Zombolas

For more than two decades, the Mass Transit District (MTD) has provided bus service to the University.

The MTD has been working with the University since 1973, according to Mike Stubbe, operations planner. Originally, the system had two routes: the Illi and the Orchard Downs. The Illi route was very similar to the current 21 Quad route, and the Orchard Downs route remains nearly identical. Back then, students paid 10 cents per ride or $20 for a semester pass, and now students pay a $33 transportation charge that is included in the fees paid by students every semester.

In 1984, USA Today named the MTD the seventh best transportation system in the country, and the MTD was honored with the American Public Transit Associations Outstanding Achievement Award in 1986 and 1994, Stubbe said.

In the spring of 1989, the MTD designed a system of routes to serve the campus area. Today, the MTD provides service seven days a week and 24 hours a day. Stubbe said the system includes 22 routes that operate during weekday-daytime hours. This accounts for 73 peak hour buses.

While other transportation systems in Big Ten schools may not be as large as the MTD, many of them offer similar services.

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Michigan State University’s bus system is provided by Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA). Pam Latka, marketing assistant for CATA, said its campus service runs seven days a week with 24-hour service available. The system also offers off-campus service, and all together, CATA provides service to a 600-square-mile area. Students pay 50 cents per ride and an unlimited ride pass for a semester costs $45.

Purdue University’s City Bus, serves the Greater Lafayette area and provides free rides to students, according to the university’s Web site.

Cambus, at the University of Iowa, is centered on campus. According to the University of Iowa Web site, this service runs seven days a week and also offers free service to students.

Northwestern University has a contract with Pace to provide transportation between the two campuses, said Debra Garfi, senior manager of university services. All of the student buses are free for students, and these buses also run seven days a week.