New Huskie Buses get positive reactions

By Rob Heselbarth

The new and improved Huskie Buses have been running for a little over a week and reaction from riders has been positive.

Although the handicapped-accessible buses cost about $1 million, most people interviewed said they are definitely worth the money.

“If we didn’t buy them now, we would have bought them eventually,” said Rick Grunz, a junior communications major.

Despite the relative newness of the buses, most people said they don’t use them any more or less than the old ones.

“I use the new buses the same as the old ones,” said DeKalb resident Marna Coldwater. “I ride them every day to work.”

“I like taking the new buses because I really like their smell,” Grunz said.

Even though the new buses have fewer seats, people generally said they think the new buses are bigger than the old ones.

“The size is the same,” said Pat Sanchez, Student Association Mass Transit adviser. “They look larger because they are square.”

“The coloring of the seats against the coloring of the insides make them look bigger,” Sanchez said.

“The seats are more comfortable and the windows are bigger than the old ones,” Coldwater said.

Bus riders aren’t the only people praising the new buses. Don McBride, a Huskie bus driver for 14 years, said the new buses are easier to drive. “They have more visibility and power steering which really helps a lot,” McBride said.

“As far as driving, the new buses are the same,” said Huskie bus driver Russ Ertl, a veteran of five years. “They’re quicker, but that’s not necessarily a better thing. I try to take it easy.”

“There’s a switch that allows the driver to set the ringer to ring only once,” McBride said. “It gets to be annoying when people ring it four and five times.”

Sanchez said the new buses are about as gas efficient as the old ones.

Problems with the new buses are at a minimum. The only problem involved one of the wheelchair lifts.

“Snow got clogged in one and formed ice, and it wouldn’t go back down,” Ertl said. “But other than that, no problems.”

Most of the other complaints about the buses have been minor thus far.

“I hate the turn signals. They’re too loud,” said Suzanne Murphy, a junior marketing major. “But I really love that one little chair in the middle.”

“I don’t like the very back row,” Grunz said. “I also hate how there’s no window in the back.”

Of course, there are students who don’t use the bus system at all.

“It’s easier to drive my car to one building where all my classes are,” said junior marketing major Jody Arneson. “Plus, the buses are too crowded.”

The new buses should last about 20 years. Six new buses are in operation now, with 13 scheduled to be in operation by 1994.