Students face higher bus fees next year

By Darrell Hassler

Students will pay a higher bus fee next year after the bus board estimated a $280,000 deficit by the end of next school year, the Student Association Mass Transit Board budgeter said Monday.

Rick Schaschwary said he has “no doubt” that student busing fees, now $2.98 per credit hour, will rise. “The big question is how much of an increase,” he said.

To balance the budget next year, students would have to pay $3.62 per credit hour which is a 22 percent increase, Schaschwary said. But he cautioned that many of his figures, especially the bus bids opening today, are guesswork.

The new bids will either continue service by the current Huskie Line or bring in another bus company for five more years, Schaschwary said.

Though the lowest bid will be picked, Schaschwary said his $1.5 million estimate which students have to pay is probably too low.

Also, the trend of less students attending NIU, the purchase of a new Handivan for the disabled and increased running hours for the van are reasons for the deficit prediction, he said.

The board allowed $35,000 over three years to buy a van while also allowing $45,000 per year for van labor and maintenance costs. The current van has 150,000 miles on it.

Thirty disabled students are allowed to use the van, Executive Director Todd Allen said. “You have to look out for those who are in the minority,” he said.

Board member Gary Jones, who is blind, said the Handivan helps disabled students to become a more a equal part of our society.

“For many years the disabled have been a neglected part of our society,” Jones said. “Our society has a long way to catch up.

Regarding the bad weather, Allen said students will be updated on the condition of the bus service today through DeKalb radio stations and university information at 753-1000.