Transfort funds to be cut

Sep 182005
Authors: Caroline Welch

Decreased use of Transfort by students has led to a reduction in CSU funding and an elimination of some services.

In a new contract between the Associated Students of CSU and Transfort, Saturday and night routes were eliminated. Route four, which ran around City Park and near Poudre Valley High School, will operate for eight hours instead of 12, said ASCSU President Courtney Healey .

The change, Healey said, was a result of rider-ship and cost evaluations.

"There were only 17 people riding per hour on Saturday, and we were spending about $2,200 per person who took the night route," Healey said. "We weren't being fiscally responsible."

This year ASCSU, the third largest contributor to Transfort behind the city and federal government, will contribute $360,000 instead of the over half-million dollars spent last year.

"It was astronomically expensive when we looked at repeat riders (those who road 50 or more times last year)," Healey said. "We felt that if the students knew the information, they would want us to respond."

Although numbers say rider-ship is down, some students feel inconvenienced by the cuts.

"I don't ride the bus because it doesn't run past 6 p.m.," said Sarah Lanphier, freshman business major. "In the afternoon it is warm enough to ride my bike or walk, but at night it gets cold."

Healey said ASCSU recognizes the hassle the new contract causes some students.

"We realize some students will be inconvenience and we apologize," Healey said. "But there really was no one riding at night."

The goal, she said, is to "stay inline with rider-ship. We don't want to over-fund like we have in the past."

Healey signed the contract at the beginning of September and said although the contract is binding, ASCSU is making two separate payments to Transfort. The split-payments allow ASCSU to keep tabs on how the money is being spent in regards to rider-ship. One half was paid this month.

"We didn't want to hand over the lump sum blindly," Healey said.

The payments ASCSU makes to Transfort comes out of the $22.58 ASCSU student fee.

"Our goal is to get the student fees back to the students, so they can have what they want," Healey said.

ASCSU was able to look at the numbers and solve the over-funding issues because of past presidents and their push to get statistics from Transfort.

"Katie Clausen and Jesse Lauchner worked hard to determine rider-ship," Healey said. "It was a hard battle."

In conjunction with evaluating rider-ship, CSU is looking to increase it with an add-on to the Lory Student Center.

With a federally funded facilities grant, a new Transit center will be built on the north side of the student center, said Mike Ellis, executive director of the LSC.

The project, set to begin in mid-October, has shuffled some offices that were located in the student center including El Centro, Student Legal Services and Student Leadership and Civic Engagement. Construction is set to be completed by the fall of 2006.

"I am extremely excited about the project and what it does for our community," Ellis said. "But in the long term it has many benefits for CSU and Transfort."

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