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Funding approved for off-campus bus route

By Claire Bryan, Daily Staff Reporter
Published December 3, 2013

The Central Student Government Assembly voted Tuesday to begin funding the late-night off-campus University bus route, after the initiative was announced by CSG officials in October.

CSG and the Interfraternity Council are working with Parking and Transportation Services to assign some of the University’s Blue Buses to a route that transports students to off-campus areas between the hours of 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. The service will begin in January, as previously reported.

The route is expected to begin at the corner of Oxford Road and Hill Street, and will make stops on Hill Street, South University Avenue, Packard Street, Thompson Street and North University Avenue, ending at the C.C. Little bus stop. Most locations are current Ann Arbor Transportation Authority stops.

If the new late-night bus route is able to use the Blue Buses with student drivers, the cost to CSG and IFC will be less than $30,000. However, Parking and Transportation Services has had enough trouble staffing its existing routes with drivers.

PTS hoping to hire temporary drivers for next semester, who would be trained over winter break. If enough drivers can be hired, Blue Buses will be used for the new late night route.

“Ideally we get to use the Michigan buses,” CSG President Michael Proppe said. “First, it is cheaper, but then also it is Michigan branded. We think that that is going to act as a deterrent for some of the crime that you see.”

If Parking and Transportation Services is not able to hire additional drivers in time, CSG will contract a third-party company, Trinity Bus Services, to run the route. With the additional bus company and its drivers, the cost would rise to $49,932.

If Trinity is used, $40,000 of the program will be funded by the Interfraternity Council and the CSG Executive Branch. The additional $9,932 will be paid from the legislative branch’s discretionary account.

“I think the bus route is a great idea. I am in full support of it,” LSA senior Pratik Gosh, an LSA assembly representative and the chair of finance committee, said. “I have been asking people for the last five weeks if they had any problems, but nobody really had any problems.”

Proppe said the only obstacle that could stand in the way of the late-night bus route would be if somebody from the CSG executive branch, the Interfraternity Council or the assembly did not wish to use a third-party service for the route. If Blue Buses are not available, CSG may consider delaying the route one more semester — which would mean the pilot route would commence next fall.

“We haven’t had that conversation yet. We are going to cross that bridge when we come to it,” Proppe said. “I am holding out hope we are going to be able to use the Michigan buses next semester.”