Busses added to Logan route

A petition that sought to bring a second bus back to several John A. Logan routes has been answered.

Qassem Alweh, a sophomore Logan student from Carbondale studying engineering, said a second bus was restored to several Logan routes after he started a petition to bring them back because of overcrowding and promptness issues. The number of busses reduced from two to one last semester because the college’s bus company didn’t have the necessary information to determine route ridership, said  Carletta Hanks, Rides Mass Transit District public relations coordinator.

“From the first moment, the students have been shouting at the top of their lungs to bring back that bus,” Alweh said. “However, at that time we had our hope invested in Rides Mass Transit District.”

Alweh said RMTD, which started running the route after Saluki Express canceled its Carterville service last summer, told him the issue would get resolved, but he wanted to pressure the company after extended inaction. The petition gained more than 300 passenger and non-passenger signatures in its one-day life span, he said.

Hanks confirmed another bus is now available. She said it’s difficult to determine when to operate buses because the company does not know student schedules, and anyone can ride any time since the buses are not reserved for student use.

“Due to the big demand, we don’t know how many students are going to be on the bus until they go to the bookstore and purchase their swipe card,” she said.

Hanks said the heaviest traffic periods have been determined, and there now is an additional bus during those times. She said students should buy bus swipe cards because they will help RMTD determine when a second bus is necessary and prove cost-effective for students.

While Alweh thinks the petition worked, he said the issue is not yet resolved.

“As a result of the student efforts, we have achieved some advancements,” he said. “I feel our conflict has still not been resolved and will therefore continue to monitor RMTD with a watchful eye”.

Alweh said a second bus was available Monday because it was dispatched over the radio rather than used as an answer to student demand. The first bus was overcrowded, he said, and students who took the second bus were late to class.

Several Logan students say they have dealt with bus overcrowding since last semester’s bus cuts.

Charles Rowland, a junior Logan student from Macomb studying vocation administration, said he has experienced overcrowding en route to the college before. However, he said he has not had issues in the morning because very few students ride as early as he does.

“I’ve been lucky,” Rowland said. “So far, the busses I’ve been on (have) only been overcrowded once or twice because they had to have people standing.”

Rowland said a second bus has cleared up the issues on his route, so he does not encounter an overcrowded bus. The routes will maintain a second bus, and he said he thinks the issue will stay resolved.

Amanda Johnson, a junior Logan student from Rosedale, Miss., studying psychology, said she supported the petition because space has proved to be an issue. With one bus arriving every two hours, she said bus frequency has caused her days to become longer than necessary.

“It turned out OK, or whatever, but I still (have to) be two hours early for class, “ she said. “Like now, I’m two hours early for an 11:00 class, and I only have one class. Then I have to stay an hour later just to wait on the bus.”

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