Budget cuts only disappoints Huskie Bus riders


By Cody Laplante

We’ve all been there: at the bus stop, the wind blowing, the temperature dropping, the clock slowly showing that you are late for class and the bus is no where in sight. And when the bus does come, your relief is short-lived as you cram yourself between two people you have never met and you enjoy a lovely ride across campus.

It’s hardly a secret that our beloved Huskie buses are far from perfect, and at this time of year–when the outdoors resemble the surface of the moon–the imperfections are amplified.

But at least riding the bus is free, right?

Well, according to a list of this year’s undergraduate student fees, a student with 12 credit hours a semester pays $207.60 per year on the Huskie bus system.

That kind of makes me want to ride the bus more often. But as I think of the late buses, the crowds, awkward schedules and the possibility of being late to class, it makes me reconsider.

Many students agree.

“[The buses] take a lot of time and it’s inconvenient. It takes less time walking,” said Laura Gallagher sophomore engineering major.

Gallagher is right. The buses are just inconvenient and it doesn’t help that the routes are constantly changing.

The most notorious change was the creation of the dreaded route 7A. In an effort to reach parts of DeKalb not previously serviced, the Student Association split the route 7 bus last semester and made two different routes. Let’s just say that going to Walmart involved saving money but not living better.

But this semester we have the old route 7 back. Yup those bus routes aren’t inconvenient anymore right? Well, while scanning through the new Spring 2013 Bus Routes Guide you’ll see that we also have the new Evening Right, Evening Left, Evening North, 5, 5A, 5B, new hours of operation on many of the routes–and, to top it off, a detour right in the middle of campus due to construction. I don’t think I am alone when I say that I am confused.

Getting to class on time now requires advanced planning, a quick memory and cunning intellect, and although I like to think I have all of those features, I am challenged by the new bus schedules. I, like so many other students, don’t bother with the buses anymore.

But my question still stands unanswered: Why are there so many problems?

Seth Peritz, the Student Association director of Mass Transit, attributed most of these problems to budgetary constrictions.

“There has been a reduction in credit hours students are taking, which results in budget cuts,” Peritz said.

He did warn however that students do not bring concerns directly to him. “They tell your friends but they don’t tell me,” he said.

So although the total blame cannot be fairly placed on Peritz or the Student Association, the simple fact is that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be willing to pay $207.60 per year to use buses that are “inconvenient.”