Number of Huskie bus passengers decrease

By Holly Schubert

A report presented at the Student Association Mass Transit Board meeting Monday stated that the number of passengers riding Huskie buses decreased by about 220,000 last semester.

A report prepared by Graduate Assistant Robin Purdy-Lee states that 1,421,818 passengers rode the nine bus routes in fall 1987, compared to 1,199,714 last semester. In fall 1986, 1,574,361 passengers rode the nine routes.

The decline in bus use was attributed to mild winter weather conditions over the past two years. Board Chairman Dave Emerick said people prefer to walk if the weather permits.

The sharpest decline in ridership was on bus route four, which services the west residence halls. Last semester, 488,720 passengers used the buses on this route, compared to 609,720 during fall 1987.

In other business, Emerick told the board he has hired a minutes secretary to take notes at board meetings, copy and distribute minutes of board meetings and maintain an accurate board file. Emerick said the new secretary is not a private secretary for any member of the board.

Emerick said a board member previously had assumed these duties, but he said it is unfair to have board members bear the responsibility of taking accurate notes while actively participating in meeting discussion.

Emerick said the secretary will cost between $10 and $12 per week.

Although Emerick said he was not aware of any other board having a paid minutes secretary, he said the board needs someone in this position because it deals with the public trust of a $1.2 million budget and frequently refers to previous meeting minutes.

Emerick said the board is “at the starting gate” of establishing a shuttle bus to Geneva that initially would be a “break even” venture. He said he is looking for student input and hopes to have a proposal ready by mid-February.

Nancy Ortega, president of Pi Sigma Epsilon, told the board that a conflict has been settled involving the refusal of the campaign of former county circuit clerk candidate Linda Finn to pay the remainder of its Huskie bus advertising, which totals $418.95.

After a Dec. 13 meeting with Finn’s lawyer Scott Erwin, Finn, her campaign manager John Morreale, former PSE President Steve Middaugh, Emerick, and Ortega, it was agreed that Finn’s campaign would pay $209.49. Ortega said the campaign had wanted to pay only $100, but the PSE and Emerick increased the payment to $209.

Ortega said the argument centered around whether Finn’s campaign received the advertising for which it paid. Ortega said signs on the sides of Huskie buses cannot be seen at all times because the buses to which they are attached must be refueled or repaired.

Emerick said he does not think this incident will set a precedent because most advertisers understand the contract. “I am not pleased with it (the settlement amount), but I accept it,” he said.

Although Ortega said she was disappointed with the decision, she said will not cease to do business with Finn.

PSE sells Huskie Bus Line advertising and collects 40 percent of the proceeds, and the board receives the rest.

Calling the project “the single greatest thing the SA has done this year,” Emerick said the handicap vehicle purchased last semester will be in operation when new doors for the bus arrive.