Talks continue over proposed changes in weekend routes

By Matt Gronlund

The proposed bus route through the downtown DeKalb bar area was the topic of discussion again at Wednesday’s Student Association Mass Transit Board (SAMTB) meeting.

SAMTB Chair Mikki Anderson expressed concern over the bus route being coined the “bar bus” by the media. The board felt that if the route is called the “bar bus,” people would be led to believe that NIU and the SAMTB condone students partying at bars and using alcohol.

“The bus is getting the wrong image,” Anderson said. “The whole idea of the bus is for it to be like a designated driver.”

SAMTB Fiscal Adviser Janet Potter expressed concern that violence might occur on the bus. In particular she was worried about fighting and sexual assault.

A number of ideas for the bus were proposed. One possibility would be the addition of a new bus route, specifically designed to run to the downtown bar area.

Anderson said another possibility would be to reverse the Weekend Four Huskie Bus Route and to extend the hours that the bus runs. Presently its last run is at 1:45 a.m. and goes until 2:15 a.m. The hours would be extended approximately an hour and a half.

Extending the service of the weekend four bus would eliminate the need for another bus and would also save money. “We would only need money for the extension, not another bus,” she said.

“The best way that would cause the least amount of hassle would be to extend the current route,” Anderson said. “It would be much easier to implement.”

One other possibility discussed was to allow groups to hire the bus on a “when needed” basis. Some board members expressed their concern that this would not allow all students to take advantage of the bus. “We’re here to provide a service for all students,” said Richard Baker, SAMTB faculty adviser.

The board voted to pursue the proposal to reroute the weekend four bus and to extend the hours it runs.