Transit board postpones shuttle bus vote

By Linda Luk

Are they or aren’t they?

Members of the Mass Transit Board were scheduled to vote on the use of shuttle buses Wednesday, but these plans fell through. Christy Hartnett, SA director of transportation, said it was found that the board could not vote because the SA failed to officially appoint board members.

The board informally discussed whether or not shuttle buses from DeKalb to the Geneva/Aurora train station and Fox Valley Mall will be a good idea.

“Shuttle buses were initially aimed toward commuting students going to and from the Geneva/Aurora train station to NIU,” Hartnett said. “Going to Fox Valley Mall on the weekends was suggested since it was on the way.”

A survey was taken among the student population to gauge interest in the buses. Only 5 percent were interested in buses that would go seven days a week to and from Geneva/Aurora

and NIU. A little less than 50 percent were interested in making the trips to Fox Valley Mall on weekends.

Before deciding whether or not steps will be taken toward getting shuttle buses, two issues needed to be addressed.

“Are we going to be able to accommodate all the riders that want to go?” Hartnett said. “How do we make sure we have enough seats going both ways?”

The other issue was insurance. These shuttle buses will be traveling on I-88, which is a liability.

Some of the other issues that were discussed included cost. Cost analysis on the project is not yet complete, although money has been put aside for the project.

“One factor is that money has accumulated and needs to be spent,” said Kevin Miller, former vice chair of the board. “This is a transportation fee and needs to be spent on transportation.”

The concept of charging students also was brought up. If the board agrees on having shuttle buses, it will, at first, be on a trial basis. Whether the trial should be free is yet to be determined.

“If we charge a dollar, people will make their dollar worth it and be there, and we will not have an empty seat,” SA Senator Kevin O’Kelly said.

If the board voted for shuttle buses, a decision will have to be made on how it will be payed for. Some options include raising the student fees or charging students for each ride.

No decision has been made yet, but the mass transit board is on a time limit in order to have trial runs begin in Spring 2002.

“Remember we are on a time limit,” Miller said. “If we are doing this, we have to order the buses three months in advance.”