Bus system to be improved


Students enter a Huskie Bus on April 10, 2014, in front of the Holmes Student Center.

By Shikha Duttyal

Students will be able to voice their concerns and give feedback on the Huskie Bus Line April 29.

The Huskie Bus Line runs on funds from student fees. It costs about $3.7 million annually to operate the Huskie Buses. With a decline in student enrollment, the budget of the Huskie Bus Line is decreasing, which will in turn affect the number of buses running.

Mass Transit Director Joe Frascello and Student Association Senator Brett Williams, vice chairman of the mass transit committee, have organized a workshop in the Holmes Student Center, designed to get student feedback on the Huskie Bus Line.

“Originally we had planned to have a survey to talk to the students, but then we thought to have a workshop which will include the survey, feedbacks, complaints and suggestions from the students,” Frascello said. “Students are welcome to attend the workshop.”

This is the first workshop on the Huskie Bus Line that will involve feedback and suggestions from the students.

“It’s the easiest, fastest and the most effective way of communication,” Williams said.

Frascello and Williams said students often come to them saying there are not enough buses operating.

“Ours is not a perfect system, but we are trying to make it as perfect as we can,” Frascello said.

Frascello said the Mass Transit Committee is aware of glitches, like inaccurate tracking of the buses and buses shown to halt at a particular place, and they will be fixed by next semester.

The present tracking software is developed by the geography department and is maintained by ITS. The buses are owned by Veolia Transportation.

Williams said the Mass Transit Committee is in the process of arranging a bus service from DeKalb to Chicago which would have a fare, much like the Elburn Shuttle.

“[A] lot of community members do not like direct access from DeKalb to Chicago, but students like it,” Frascello said. “[Students] do not want the buses to be used by non-NIU students on these routes for safety reasons.”

Williams said the coming semester will have many improvements, like more bus shelters.

“We gotta do great things coming in the future, hopefully some improvements, effectively and efficiently for the students,” Williams said.

Junior economics major Matt Cavanaugh said he is happy with the current Huskie Bus service, but would like to see additional buses, like a 3 and a 4, which would go to Barsema.

“[The Huskie Buses] are on time,” Cavanaugh said. “I’m glad it’s free. I don’t have to pay for gas and I am in class on time.”