Student leaders say their lobbying efforts have convinced DOTS to modify the Seven Springs Apartments bus route to make up for the loss of the Route 1 Corridor bus, which will stop running at the end of the summer.
Student Government Association President Steve Glickman and Graduate Student Government President Anupama Kothari said they approached Department of Transportation Services Director David Allen after many students complained that they were cut off from key Route 1 destinations without the Route 1 Corridor bus, which was canceled in June.
In response, DOTS has extended the Seven Springs bus route to stop at IKEA, the Shoppers Food Warehouse, Camden Apartments and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"The biggest concern was that the undergraduate students wanted to have access to IKEA and the graduate students wanted to have access to the USDA because they have a lot of internships there," Glickman said. "This new proposal fits both."
Allen is on vacation and could not be reached to comment on the students' involvement in DOTS' route change. Associate Director David Davitaia, who oversees Shuttle-UM, said he did not know the details of the decision.
Glickman said only a little more than 100 students a day were using the Route 1 Corridor bus route, compared to the 1,000 that ride the Seven Springs bus route daily.
He added that the changes will maintain services while saving DOTS money.
"The line costs $80,000 to maintain, so it wasn't something really worth keeping up," Glickman explained. "We understood that, but we wanted to make sure other areas were accessible."
In another move stemming from the cancellation of the Route 1 Corridor route, the city announced Tuesday night that it would continue its city ridership program next year, but pay less for the service that allows city residents to use Shuttle-UM buses.
The Route 1 Corridor route was by far the most popular for city residents. Now, without the bus, the city will pay $5,000 the price to have access to 1,000 Shuttle-UM passes, while last year they paid $10,000 for 500 passes.
The city considered continuing to pay $10,000 if DOTS agreed to continue to run the Route 1 corridor bus Saturdays, but councilmembers voted against the option Tuesday night.
"We don't have sufficient ridership to make it a great program at this time," District 2 Councilman Bob Catlin said about eliminating the idea of a Route 1 Corridor route Saturdays.
Catlin proposed that the city begin charging a small fee for the rider identification cards to raise money for some sort of Route 1 Corridor route. He said the city can advertise that the extra money will help enhance bus service.