Possible expansion for NIU ride service

By Ellen Skelly

NIU’s Late Night Ride Service might expand to every weeknight early next semester.

Student Association Mass Transit Adviser David Pack said the current mass transit budget does not allow expansion until sometime next semester.

“Right now, it’s been put on the back burner” until budget deficits are overcome, Pack said. The board is $36,000 over budget while the ride service is working with $2,288. Even with budget problems, Pack said he foresees the service operating every night in the future.

Pack said from word-of-mouth he has heard riders would see the increased number of nights as beneficial. The ride service now runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Only students with current NIU identification are allowed to use the service. “If you don’t have an ID, you don’t get on —that’s the rule,” Pack said.

But the service soon might allow non-students and students without NIU ID’s to ride. Pack said if they are allowed to ride, those riders would have to sign waivers for insurance purposes.

Keeping people safe is one of the main reasons for the ride service, said board member Pat Sanchez.

Ridership has averaged about 75 riders per weekend, Pack said. When the weather gets cold, Pack expects about a 20 percent increase in riders. Pack said he knows of “only a handful” of similar ride services at other universities.