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COR reveals new Safebus details

Mary Kate Malone | Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Discussion regarding the Notre Dame SafeBus continued at the Council of Representatives meeting Monday, with representatives responding to the bus’s proposed route, funding options and student safety concerns.

Chief of staff Dave Baron presented a map to representatives displaying a possible route for the SafeBus. Though it has not been approved, the proposed route spurred questions from various representatives.

While many off campus bars such as Corby’s, The Library and Boat Club were included, some others were left out. Off campus representative Dave McGowan suggested the Linebacker be added to the route, while student union board manager Jimmy Flaherty questioned whether or not Saint Mary’s was a drop off point.

“We have to try to get Linebacker in if we can. And Saint Mary’s will not be part of the SafeBus route,” student body president Adam Istvan said.

According to the map presented by Baron, the route would begin at Main Circle and make approximately ten stops at various bars and apartment complexes off campus. Istvan estimated the bus would run in thirty minute intervals from midnight until 4 a.m. Hall Presidents Council co-chair Claire Fadel expressed concern about students misusing the bus as a means to take them to parties, rather than a safe way to bring them home.

Concerns were also raised about what sort of message would be sent by the University if it endorsed SafeBus.

“One hundred percent of the people I talked to had ideological concerns. They expressed concerns over how it will affect the image of the student body,” Center for Social Concerns representative Andrew Hoyt said.

Cavanaugh senator Jordan Bongiovanni responded by citing the purpose of the SafeBus.

“We are drawing the line between the University promoting alcoholic extracurricular activities and supporting the safety of those who choose to take part in them by emphasizing that the bus is picking up students rather than taking them places off campus,” Bongiovanni said.

Bongiovanni suggested that the Council examine the dangers involved with the taxi services students currently use for off-campus gatherings.

“We need to look into how unsafe cab rides are getting. There are so many reports of crazy drivers,” Bongiovanni said.

Istvan agreed.

“This is a student safety issue which should take precedence over any other reason for the SafeBus,” he said. “This should be a priority for security.”

Student body vice president Karla Bell presented her research on transportation at other universities across the country. She cited Northwestern, Duke and Boston College as examples of schools which have varying forms of bus or van services for students going within a certain distance off-campus. Though prices vary at each school, all have buses running late into the night and many are run by campus security.

“A lot of the schools mentioned are in safer towns than South Bend, and they still have transportation for students,” HPC co-chair Liz Cain said. “South Bend has had a lot of dangerous incidents which raise safety concerns and the need for a campus bus service.”

Questions regarding fees for the bus were also raised. Istvan suggested a variety of possible sources for funding.

“We have a lot of different options,” Istvan said. “Notre Dame security could possibly fund it. There is the possibility of selling bus passes to students, costing $10 for the entire year. Or we may add an additional four dollars to every student’s activity fee which would cover the SafeBus for the school year.”

Representatives expressed satisfaction with the progress that has been made, while Baron announced further steps being taken to make the SafeBus a reality.

“We are contacting the mayor’s office, and we’re looking to get endorsement by Mayor Stephen Luecke by next Thursday because the bus will be running in the South Bend area,” Baron said. “We need the support of the community outside Notre Dame.”