There have been a number of articles recently about parking problems at NIU. Perhaps the most obvious answer to the parking problem is being overlooked.
The Huskie Bus system serves a major part of DeKalb. Encouraging employees as well as students to use it could result in a much lighter traffic flow on the campus, reduce parking needs and reduce the financial load of the bus system on students.
BUT (there is always a BUT), there are some hitches that have to be worked out.The fare for employees is the same as the general public. If you purchase a pass each semester, the cost for a year is more than twice that of the staff parking permit—I don’t have to be an accounting major to figure out that this is not a bargain.
2. Most staff and an increasing number of students do not have a death wish, often a requirement for boarding a Huskie Bus. I have been on Bus #3 on Russell Road, doing 50 mph in a 30 mph speed zone with standing room only. This tends to make people standing on the crowded bus human projectiles, protected from injury only by their own grip. I have also been on buses doing 0_60 mph from a full stop, only to slam on the brakes a block further on to try to make the next stop. I have seen drivers read while driving, sometimes in extremely adverse weather conditions. I have been on buses moving at excessive speeds through school zones as well.
3. The Huskie Bus on-time record is questionable. Granted, drivers make up lost time by exceeding posted and/or reasonable speeds; however, if riders become a whimpering mass, probably with a need for clean undergarments, what has been accomplished? Perhaps drivers should pay more attention to starting the route on time, rather than reading The Northern Star, socializing with friends and other drivers, or that all-important donut break. Sometimes it seems we have two choices: to be late or to live.
4. Of course, there are those wonderful days when a new driver drives past you as you stand frozen to the ground near the bus stop sign. On one occasion, I was told by the driver in question, “If you had been there I would have stopped. It’s your word against mine.” Puh-leese!! Customer service is not a dirty word, it is a necessity for improving the Huskie Line image.
Don’t misunderstand. I appreciate having the opportunity to use the bus. I get practically door-to-door service from my home to my office, a much better option than driving to campus, parking and walking in northern Illinois weather. All I want is for the Huskie Bus to run safely and efficiently to serve not only students, but faculty, staff, and the community, making it more cost effective as well. It is not an unreachable goal, but who will take the initiative? Smooth assurances given in a condescending tone by Mr. Sanchez are not the answer. Let’s see a commitment to safety and service, not just hear the words.
University Health Service