Since 1989, the University of Illinois and MTD have contracted for unlimited bus access for students, faculty, and staff. Service is revisited every three years when the contracts are up for renewal and renegotiation.
For the 2016-2018 service contract, the Illinois Student Senate (ISS) prepared a petition for signatures to put two referendum questions on the March 4 and 5 ballot. In order to be included on the ballot, UI student signatures are needed! The questions are the result of months of work and research completed in coordination between the UI’s Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, ISS, and MTD.
The petition addresses maintenance of existing service and/or provision of more service. By signing, students ensure the two questions are on the ballot. Actual support of the two measures will be collected during the election.
The first question is, “Do you recommend an increase to the Transportation Fee to fund the continuation of existing CUMTD Bus Service under the Campus Transportation Plan through June 30th, 2018?”
As the supporting documentation provided by the ISS details, this increase covers inflationary costs of the current service with a $0 increase in 2016, a $1 increase for 2017, and another $1 increase in 2018. The current semester fee for 2014-2015 is $59. The Campus Transportation Ad-Hoc Committee of the ISS recommended that “all current services be continued.”
The second question asks, “Do you recommend an increase of one dollar ($1) to the Transportation Fee, separate from the increase presented in Question 1, to provide a new bus route to serve Central Campus, FAR/PAR, and the College of Veterinary Medicine?”
The Campus Transportation Ad-Hoc Committee concluded that this additional route would “improve timely arrivals for students travelling to classes to or from VetMed.” The route would essentially operate in a circle to the locations listed in the question above on a 30-minute frequency during the weekday daytime. The benefits of the new route would go beyond the students of Vet-Med. This circulator route, pictured in the supporting petition documentation, would alleviate high capacity demands during peak times.
A petition to put those questions on the ballot opened Thursday, February 19. Five percent of the total student body must vote “yes” in order for the questions to come to a vote at all.
MTD and the ISS have until 4:59 pm on Tuesday, February 24 (tomorrow!) to get the signatures needed for the election on March 4 and 5.
If you’d like another perspective, MTD posted the petition link on the UIUC sub Reddit and a healthy conversation resulted. Thanks for helping us spread the word and here’s to a continuation of great campus bus service!