The Associated Students of CSU is negotiating with Transfort, Fort Collins’ public transportation system, to make changes that could better accommodate student riders.
Each student pays $12.40 a semester in student fees for unlimited bus service. For an academic year, ASCSU collects the fees and pays Transfort about $550,000 to $600,000 to provide the service to students, said David Bower, ASCSU president.
Bower said ASCSU started the agreement with Transfort three years ago, but this year the contract is up, and before he signs another contract, he wants some changes that would better serve students.
Bower is spearheading the negotiations that should be finalized in either late February or early March.
Bower said his main priority in the negotiations is getting more busses to run on busy routes.
“We need to increase specific student routes,” Bower said, “like the one that runs through Rams Village.”
Rams Village is an apartment complex, north of Elizabeth Street, where many students live.
Becca Goodwin, sophomore equine science major and bus rider said more busses on some routes are needed.
“That is really important,” Goodwin said. “They have to do something because when it gets busier in the winter more people will be riding, and the buses are already packed as it is.”
Bower also wants changes in some busses’ schedules so they better match students’ class schedules.
“Many students are rushed with the current system,” he said. “We don’t want students to have to run to class after getting off the bus.”
Bower said ASCSU is also looking at some route changes but, to date, don’t have any specific recommendations because they have not done enough research.
Bower said ASCSU wants changes in NightLITe, a bus system that runs Friday and Saturday nights until 2:45 a.m. for students.
Bower said he wants some route changes to better accommodate late night, downtown bar visitors. Bower also said this system has been somewhat of a failure thus far because students don’t use the service as much as they could.
Brendan Burns, director of Student Activities for ASCSU, is in charge of collecting information for the negotiations and getting the NightLITe word out to more students.
ASCSU has been conducting student surveys for the past three weekends to determine effective advertising methods to get the word out to students, Burns said.
“What our surveys have shown is that people don’t know (NightLITe) exists and the main reason is the lack of advertising,” he said. “Bars don’t even know about this service. So part of what we’re doing is letting (the bars) know and maybe have them use coasters that have the (NightLITe) times and routes on them.”
Another important issue in the negotiation is getting a flat rate, Bower said
“We need to see a flat dollar sign,” Bower said, “right now we are paying by a student head count. What about the dorm students who don’t ride the buses? Should we be charged for them? I would like to see a fair, flat rate.”
Bower said he would also like Transfort to swipe student ID cards to be let on instead of having bus drivers looking at the activity cards because any person can present a card and get on, whether or not that person has paid student fees.
“We just want to make sure current students who are paying the fees get the benefits,” Bower said.
Bower’s final goal in the negotiations is getting a CSU Ram logo on the outside of the bus.
“I think that because we (students) are paying (Transfort) a lot of money,” Bower said, “they should show that they appreciate that we are a big part of the community and put on a Ram logo.”
-Edited by Shandra Jordan, Colleen Buhrer and Ben Koerselman