SAMTB discusses bus pass plan

By Dina Paluzzi

The desire to develop a bus pass policy was discussed at the Student Association Mass Transit Board meeting Monday.

Vice Board Chairman Dave Emerick said there is no set pass policy and the board has received complaints and suggestions on policies from Huskie bus drivers.

Emerick chaired the meeting in place of Chairman Phil Kessler who was out of town Monday.

“The board needs to come up with one (a pass policy),” Emerick said. If a policy is drafted, problems then can be referred to a written policy, he said.

Emerick said, “If this body passes a policy the Huskie line has to enforce the policy, and if an incident like the Dec. 19 one happened again, it wouldn’t be our (the board’s) fault.”

The incident on Dec. 19 involved a bus driver who left her bus to call her supervisor because some passengers refused to show their passes. A passenger then took the bus and parked it on Lucinda Avenue.

Board members discussed a sample policy drafted by board member Mary Hermsen. The sample policy stated all passengers are required to show either an NIU student identification card, bus pass or a 50 cent fee upon entering buses. The rule applies to all routes except weekday routes 3 and 4.

Board member Robin Snyder asked if the board should allow students riding route 3 and 4 buses to be exempt from showing their IDs.

The sample policy also stated for the first two weeks of the fall semester and the first week of spring semester IDs and bus passes should not be required.

Board member Dave Pack said the board should be consistent and make the waiting period for both semesters the same.

The policy also stated student class schedules would not be accepted in place of the student IDs or bus passes. Emerick said the student IDs have to be shown so drivers will know the passengers are fee-paying students. Hermsen said the drivers are accepting schedules now.

Students will not be required to show current semester validation stickers due to the delay in distribution of the stickers, the proposed policy states.

Board member Mike Cassman said the bus drivers should be required to see all IDs and the rule should be strict.

Cassman and board member Dave Pack presented new information on the late night rider service, which would operate from 2 a.m to 6 a.m. when buses do not run.

Cassman said he met with University Police Capt. James Webster and Webster said he will have his part of the rider service program ready to present to Pack and Cassman by the end of the week.

Pack said for the first few weeks of operation UP patrol cars will be sent out with each call to see how students are using or abusing the service.