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SafeBus plan met with concerns

MARY KATE MALONE and AMANDA MICHAELS | Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Members of the Council of Representatives voiced their constituencies’ concerns about the proposed Notre Dame SafeBus at Monday’s meeting.The SafeBus, part of student body president Adam Istvan’s campaign platform, would serve as an alternative mode of transportation for students going to parties at off-campus residences or bars. Currently no concrete plans for how to implement the measure exist, as Istvan is still gauging student and administration feedback.Though representatives reported positive responses to the idea, they brought up questions of funding, pick-up and drop-off locations and Notre Dame Security/Police involvement.Istvan asked members to find out if the student body would be willing to pay for a trip on the bus, or if he should investigate other means of funding, such as using Student Activities fees.Hall Presidents Council co-chair Liz Cain said making the SafeBus free of charge would be the best option.”The people I talked to were not willing to pay to ride the bus, especially when cab is only $2 and takes you right where you want to go,” she said.Cavanaugh senator Jordan Bongiovanni suggested exploring other alternatives as well and made reference to Gonzaga University’s system of crediting cab rides to the university, provided the student gives the driver their ID number.Bus routes were also a top concern, as representatives debated the convenience and location of different on and off-campus stops. Many representatives said more than one stop at Notre Dame would be preferable, and that a route schedule should be highly publicized and accessible. Cain said utilizing a fleet of small vans rather than one large bus would ensure there would be enough transportation at the busiest points in the evening when South Bend bars let out.Senior class president Darrell Scott said he worried about resistance from community members who live near student residences.”Neighbors might have a problem with a bus coming and dropping off a load of drunken students,” he said. “We already have a poor town/gown relationship, and this might make their perception about partying a reality.”According to COR members, the majority of students questioned expressed great concern about NDSP taking advantage of the situation and citing intoxicated, underage students getting off the bus.”Most are worried about NDSP hanging out at Main Circle and picking people off as they come back,” Student Union Board manager Jimmy Flaherty said.Istvan said he plans to speak with NDSP administrators, but added that he hoped they would be happy with the knowledge that students were coming back to Notre Dame safely. Along with the SafeBus initiative, Istvan plans to address other key elements on his agenda in his State of the Union speech on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Notre Dame Room of LaFortune.