Illinois Student Senate negotiates revised MTD bus routes

By Andrew Maloney

Wednesday’s Illinois Student Senate meeting featured the approval of at least a couple of items, but one in particular had been pretty high on the group’s priority list.

At the time discussing the senate’s upcoming schedule, student body president and senior in LAS Jaclyn O’Day in January alluded to the University’s ongoing negotiations with the MTD as one of “three big things” the senate would be keeping an eye on.

Wednesday night, senate members voted to approve a resolution that favored a consolidation of “the routes currently served by the 21, 23, 24, and 26 bus routes.” The 140-line resolution also endorsed an altered 22 Illini route, an increase in the number of signs that mark the routes, and a contract which would require passengers at off-campus locations to show their i-cards when boarding.

The ISS committee that authored the resolution was created last semester, and Sky Opila, ISS’ press secretary, senior in Media and former Illini Media employee, spoke on its behalf.

“We’ve looked at all the options, and we’ve really worked hard on crafting this information,” said Opila. “The nice part about this system is that we’re not 100 percent locked in. If there’s something that’s not working out, it can change. MTD is willing to adapt, and they’ve been great working with us so far.”

After a series of questions from ISS members concerning the hours of bus operation, re-named routes, and an increased presence in downtown Champaign-Urbana, the resolution passed by a count of 21-2 with 3 abstentions.

Additionally, a resolution concerning the further implementation of the Collegiate Readership Program was also passed. The pilot program was organized in fall 2007, and helps bring copies of USA Today, the New York Times, and Chicago Tribune to locations on campus for student use. The resolution was aimed at lowering the number of signatures required to put a non-refundable, $2 student fee towards funding the program on the spring 2009 ballot. After some question as to whether the fee’s non-refundable status would be beneficial to students, the resolution passed by a count of 19-5.