Repairs completed, van begins service

By Holly Schubert

Repairs to a handicap van purchased by the Student Association Mass Transit Board have been completed and the vehicle began providing service to eligible NIU students Monday.

Although one board member had expressed concern last semester about the condition of the van, a board member who is handicapped used the van Monday and said she was pleased. “I was very impressed with the way it ran and I didn’t hear any bad noises,” Sue Haas said.

The 1980 mini-conversion van, which accommodates two wheelchairs and five to six people who are not confined to a wheelchair, was purchased from the Voluntary Action Center for $200 last semester.

Board Chairman Dave Emerick said the board committed over $8500 for purchase, repairs, modification, and running of the van. However, the project has come in $1,000 under budget so far, he said.

The van provides transportation for handicapped students to and from classes on weekdays, and will also be available for other trips and weekend service. Bill Finucane, a supervisor with NIU transportation, said one rider already used the vehicle to go to Walmart Monday.

At the SAMTB meeting Monday night, Michael Cassman, Late-Nite ride service program chairman, presented the board with a policy and procedure handbook for the service. Cassman said all riders must present a valid NIU identification card upon pick-up, and the number of passengers per trip will be restricted to one rider for each seat belt.

Cassman told the board that the service provides rides to an average of 2.9 people per trip with each trip averaging 3.4 miles. He said the service has logged about 1,380 miles since last April.

In other business, Emerick said, due to mild weather and a decrease in ridership, bus route 3C will not be implemented this semester. The route provided additional service last winter to the greek row area during poor weather and cost about $10,000.