By Amrutha Sivakumar, Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 8, 2013
When January comes rolling around, students can expect to see more Blue Buses rolling through off-campus neighborhoods.
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The Central Student Government announced Tuesday that it had partnered with the Interfraternity Council to pilot an off-campus bus route that will run at least three days of the week. Starting Winter 2014, the bus route will utilize existing Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority and University bus stops from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
After re-reading all of the crime alerts that he has received since arriving at the University four years ago, CSG President Michael Proppe said the alerts prove that there is a need for safer off-campus transportation services. He said 84 percent of reported crimes took place after 10:00 p.m., 67 percent took place off-campus and 64 percent occurred in scenarios in which the victim was walking.
The idea of a bus route operating off campus was first discussed during an IFC during the Winter 2013 semester. As a result, Proppe and CSG Vice President Bobby Dishell, also the vice president of recruitment for IFC, incorporated an off-campus route as one of their six platform promises in the March CSG elections.
In a process that began in April and involved dialogue that lasted the duration of the summer and included meeting with University administrators in Parking and Transportation Services, University of Michigan Police Department and the Office of Student Life.
Discussions with the AAATA regarding the agency’s own research solidified that a fixed bus route would be more effective than expanding SafeRide, a University service for late-night transportation between campus buildings and areas within a one-mile radius of campus.
While the initial cost of $30,000 to run the route for the first semester will be equally split between IFC and the CSG executive branch’s discretionary budget, running the route for additional semesters will rely on the success of the program and a permanent stream of financial support from sponsors.
The operation of the bus route during additional days of the week will depend on the support of CSG and other sponsors, Proppe said. He hopes that by the time January hits, he will secure approximately $70,000 to run the route all week.
Because the idea for an off-campus transportation system was initially conceived in the IFC, Dishell said the council wanted to continue to collaborate with CSG. IFC President Michael Freedman said the council was optimistic about its success.
“It all really depends on the numbers and the results,” Freedman said. “But we’re pretty positive in thinking that the crime rates will go down because of the bus route.”