Students to get opportunity to voice opinions on MTD services, fees

Students will soon have the opportunity to talk to officials from the Champaign Urbana Mass Transportation District, or CUMTD, to share their thoughts about the transportation fees.

Every three years, the University and CUMTD renegotiate the transportation fees paid by students. The change of fees are expected early next year before the student elections in spring. Before any changes are to be made, however, meetings have been organized for CUMTD officials to meet with students to hear their opinions on the current transportation service.

The first meeting was held Monday, with two more meetings to be held in the General Lounge at the Illini Union on Tuesday at 12 p.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m.

Jim Maskeri, the student representative to the CUMTD Board of Trustees, said 200 students have already provided feedback via an online form.

“They have been talking about safe rides, and how the bus routes are pretty good right now,” he said. “They enjoy the MTD services.”

Maskeri added that there will be a minor increase in transportation fees if students are willing to have extended hours for CUMTD routes.

“Students will have the option of voting on the fees during the spring election,” he said. “So, any change we see certainly will be the unit of the student body and then what the student body votes will go to the Board of Trustees.”

Jan Kijowski, CUMTD marketing director, said CUMTD has made changes after hearing student’s thoughts in the past.

“In 2009, we made some fairly substantial changes to the service,” Kijowski said. “As part of that process, we held meetings on campus to get input from the students … We rearranged routes and we put on a total 13,000 hours of the additional services.”

At Monday’s meeting, a handful of students showed up to meet with the CUMTD representatives and comment on bus routes.

Most of the students were able to have a face-to-face meeting with the officials and share concerns about public transportation.

Israel Guzman, junior in LAS, said the meeting is a good opportunity for him.

“I am just here to listen to the facts and hopefully they won’t raise the prices,” Guzman said. “I feel strongly about transportation … my second concern is about if they cut some routes, that would affect me.”

Only three students came to the meeting, but Maskeri said he took this as a good sign.

“Just the fact that they didn’t show up could represent that they feel good with the MTD service,” he said. “I know a lot of people filled out their online form so people might have substituted that form instead of coming to the meeting and talking individually.”

He added that the next meeting could have a larger audience due to a more central location in the Illini Union.