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April 13, 2001

Campus bus shuttles to expand this fall

by Anne Krapfl
To encourage bus ridership on campus and reduce the number of personal vehicles needing parking stalls, CyRide will make its "Orange" campus shuttle free at all stops for all riders beginning in August and add a second shuttle that circulates in the opposite direction around campus. The new "Gold" route will begin running in the early fall, according to Bob Bourne, transit director at CyRide.

The changes are the result of a referendum on the Government of the Student Body (GSB) ballot last month and approved by students by nearly a 4 to 1 margin. The proposal is for CyRide to become fare-free for ISU students through a funding agreement with the university, in which the university pays $4.50 per student per semester and student fees are increased $9 per student per semester, beginning in fall 2002. The student fee increase for the 2002-03 academic year still is subject to approval by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, in October.

Vice president for business and finance Warren Madden said he is hopeful Iowa State can honor its part of the deal.

"Before the possibility of budget cuts came up, we indicated we were supportive of the student proposal," Madden said. "I think this will come together, assuming the regents sign off on the higher student fees. I don't know at what level they'll [regents] say, ‘That's too much.'"

Madden said parking division revenues and reallocations within the university's operating budget are likely funding sources for Iowa State's portion.

Madden emphasized that the campus shuttles aren't just about making students happy. He said higher use of bus transportation --by students and employees -- will ease demand on campus parking lots. He also said he hopes employees will use the shuttles to move quickly across campus during the work day. Human resource services employees temporarily housed in the Wallace Road Office Building have told him the Orange route is the most efficient way to get back to central campus.

Following the GSB election, student leaders looked into options for phasing in expanded CyRide service over two years. Phase 1 -- the free shuttles -- begins this fall; one-year funding will come from a GSB reserve fund for new projects, and an increase in the "designated tuition" portion of student tuition and fees for fall 2001. Phase 2 -- a system-wide, free CyRide service for ISU students -- would begin in fall 2002 if regents approve the additional $9 per student per semester fee.

"I hope this works out well for Iowa State. This plan isn't irreversible, but we'd like to give it a shot," said GSB president Ben Golding. "We can go back to the farebox system if things don't work out over time."

Madden said there isn't money now to pay for a "fare-free" option for all routes for faculty and staff. However, the ISU parking division continues to support a half-price, all-you-can-ride fare card for faculty and staff. Employees pay half the face value of the pass; parking division subsidizes the other half. This year, about 240 employees have purchased a card for one of several options offered (semester, academic year, winter months only).

In a nutshell: Phase I, Fall 2001

  • Friday, Aug. 24: The Orange route, from central campus to the Vet Med campus via the Iowa State Center commuter lots, becomes free for all riders at all stops. The Brown route, which connects the ISU Research Park to central campus via the Towers residence halls and Welch Avenue, also becomes a free route for all riders from the Towers to points north. The Brown route includes a loop through central campus via Union Drive, Osborn Drive and Morrill Road.
  • Mid fall semester: A new Gold route, a free, clockwise variation of the Orange route, will swing through the Greek neighborhood south of campus and go as far north as Pammel Drive between Bissell and Wallace roads.

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