Transportation fee may increase to match inflation, expand services

Students may have to pay an additional 2.5 percent in transportation fees.

The Illinois Student Senate, or ISS, may consider supporting this increase in fees. Jim Maskeri, student representative to the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District board of trustees, said that the 2.5 percent increase is necessary to keep up with inflation.

“If the student body doesn’t pass the increase, then services are going to start having to get cut year after year,” he said. “If the board of trustees agrees with that sentiment and they keep the fee at two dollars, then we’re going to have to decrease service because (CUMTD) wouldn’t be getting enough to sustain (services) at the same level.”

Based on student responses to a survey he sent out, Maskeri compiled a report of recommendations for the CUMTD. Tom Costello, assistant managing director of CUMTD, said that the CUMTD was working with Maskeri to determine which proposals are financially feasible and how they can be implemented. Costello is also the Illini Media Company board chairman.

“We looked at all of those (recommendations) and met with Jim and I think we’re going to continue to go through and see what we can and can’t do,” Costello said. “We’re looking at what would involve additional costs. (The decisions) have to be made in conjunction with (ISS) as to determining where we’re at.”

In addition to the 2.5 percent increase, students may have to pay about fifty cents for additional SafeRide services. The resolution calls for the senate to support an increase in SafeRides. Maskeri said that an additional SafeRides bus may be added. SafeRides would also provide additional service on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, when the service is particularly popular.

“It’s really important to continue to increase (CUMTD) services,” said David Pileski, student body president. “These services are really important for students, especially at night.”

Pileski said students would support the increase in fees, especially if CUMTD responds to concerns that students have. Other fees are often adjusted for inflation as well.

“A 2.5 percent rate of inflation … is consistent with increases in University housing and meal plans,” Maskeri said. “It’s not all that much. It’s a couple bucks and students get to keep the excellent buses exactly the way they are.”

Costello said that he hopes CUMTD and ISS can work together to decide how to best respond to student recommendations while being mindful of the budget.

“We’ve had a long and positive history with the student senate,” he said. “We understand that our role is to serve what students want.”