Students must pay for C-U MTD changes

ME Online

ME Online

By Michael Logli

The Illinois Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution at their April 4 meeting encouraging the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District to expand Safe Rides coverage area and late night bus service. But to enact these changes, students will have to pay higher fees, said Tom Costello, assistant managing director for the MTD.

Costello said these additional services would result in the purchase of a fourth Safe Rides van, new employees and a large increase in the transportation fee students are required to pay each year.

“In previous discussions, students were not happy with needing to pay more money,” Costello said. “It’s not really an MTD decision, but it’s a student decision.”

According to the resolution, students have expressed a desire for increased Safe Rides service, late night bus service and service to off-campus housing. Justin Randall, president of the student senate and co-writer of the bill, said he hopes to work with the MTD to allow Safe Rides services to on-campus and off-campus bars, as well as expanding the late night bus service to areas like the University Commons and Campus Connection housing complexes.

MTD is willing to make any necessary changes to accommodate students’ requests, but students must pay the costs, said Paul Lucas, vice president of the MTD.

“If students pay for it, we will provide the transportation,” he said “It’s like going to a store and buying a T-shirt. You got to pay first.”

Lucas has worked with the University to write up the contract used to decide the amount of money the MTD receives for its services.

The student senate recently sent out an e-mail survey asking students whether they were willing to pay for these additional services, Many students were willing to pay up to $10 more per student to make these services available, Randall said.

“We’ve been taking a look at it and we feel it is something that should be brought up to the students,” he said.

The resolution also requested the Campus Transportation Committee to meet more regularly to discuss campus safety and other issues. Randall he said he believes that recent incidents on campus like the recent string of campus robberies have led to a growing concern over the safety of pedestrians on campus.

“We have a problem with transportation safety on this campus,” he said.

While committee member and Dean of Students Bill Riley said he agrees that the committee does not meet as often as it should, its purpose is more focused on the financial and budgetary aspects of the MTD’s affairs.

“Campus administration has conducted a lot of studies about pedestrian safety,” Riley said. “There are other groups that look into this besides the Campus Transportation Committee.”