Students miss shuttle, comfort of SafeRides

By Brittney Foreman

With almost 10,500 students on campus for the summer, or about 25 percent of normal enrollment, some would like SafeRides and the 22 Illini bus routes to still be in service. During the summer, only the 21 Quad Limited and the 23 East and West shuttles run, and only on days when class is in session.

“SafeRides typically doesn’t run over the summer and over breaks because most of the students are not here,” said Pam Voitik, director of campus services for facilities and services.

Alison Perle, senior in AHS, said that for those who are here, there is sometimes no safe way to get around to certain parts of campus.

“You don’t always have someone to walk with you to make it safe,” Perle said.

Robert Shepard, senior in LAS, said he lives at FAR and misses the 22 Illini.

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“I wish the 22 was running this summer,” Shepard said. “A lot of people still live on campus. If I want to get to someone’s house or something, I have to walk there.”

Voitik said the University has offered SafeRides during breaks before.

“The University has paid extra different times to maintain SafeRides over break, and no one uses it,” Voitik said.

Voitik said the University did not have students pay extra student fees for the extra service. The University could not find the statistics as to the actual amount of students who used the routes during the year they were offered for at least one Thanksgiving and one Christmas break.

“If the students are interested in what is provided then they need to make their voices known,” said Managing Director of C-U MTD William Volk.

MTD currently runs the SafeRides system. He said the student senate representative to the C-U MTD board, Justin Randall, might be a good person for students to start with.

The way students use SafeRides, however, is an issue that the MTD staff recognizes. Tom Costello, assistant managing director for C-U MTD, said most of the students use SafeRides for what it is intended.

“But those who don’t (use it as intended) take up the resources of the service which might otherwise be used for the students who need it,” Costello said.

The purpose of SafeRides is to provide transportation for individuals who are traveling alone and have no other means of transportation to one of the places within the boundaries that SafeRides covers, according to the C-U MTD Web site. The site also says that three people are allowed to ride at a time, and SafeRides does not offer transportation to bars or in emergencies to medical facilities.

Perle said that around the bars it is always well-lit and there are always people around, but once a student moves away from those areas, things change.

“Every time I walk by myself I think about that guy who was holding people up at gunpoint,” Perle said. “That still creeps me out.”

Perle said that an armed robbery happened a few blocks from where she lives on Busey Avenue. The string of seven armed robberies took place from March 30 to April 13 in and around Campustown.

“The 22 should definitely still run,” Perle said. “I’m not saying it has to run every 10 minutes, but every 20 minutes or half-hour would be fine.”

The 21 Quad Limited currently runs Monday-Friday every 20 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The 23 East and West Shuttles operate Monday through Friday, every 10 minutes, and stop running at 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., respectively.

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