Combination of two routes set to begin

By Maureen Morrissey

The combination of two routes serving the Sycamore Road area will go into effect today.

Student Association Mass Transit Board voted 9-1 last semester to combine Routes 7 and 9, saving the board $8,500.

SAMTB Adviser David Pack, said although the board is doing what it can to avoid confusion, some is expected. “We are trying to inform the riders, but those who don’t know will not be left behind, they will just have to wait longer.”

Board member Rick Cibelli said “the key to success is educating the riders.” The board has been circulating fliers to area businesses.

The new route will run from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday. Before and after these hours, a 30-minute Route 7 bus will run. On weekends, the regular 40-minute route 7 will run.

Board member Mike Cassman opposed the combination. He said he feels the combination “makes a long route longer,” referring to the 40-minute running time of the 7 route increasing to an hour. He pointed out that riders could walk to campus in 35 minutes while the bus ride will now take 30 minutes.

Pack said “the board knew some students would be inconvenienced, but the benefits are greater.”

The new route will leave the Holmes Student Center every hour on the half hour, travel to the Sycamore area shopping district, Kishwaukee Hospital and the NIU School of Engineering in Sycamore. It will then return to the student center along Normal Road.

Benefits of the combination include more service to the School of Engineering and Sycamore, budget savings and an additional bus which will be used on the 3 or 4 routes “if ridership demands,” Pack said.

Inconveniences of the new route include lengthening of the route time, elimination of service to the Greek Row area on that route and longer traveling time for riders.

Board member Olin Anderson suggested lengthening Route 2 further along Sycamore Road to help make up for some of the inconveniences. However, “it does not look like that will happen,” Pack said, adding “to do that would extend the route time.”