Saluki Express offers late night ride

By Gus Bode

It’s Saturday night in a Carbondale bar and those infamous words are called out: “Last call!”

The sign has been given that the bar will close its doors shortly. Now it’s time to wonder how to get home.

Many opt to stumble back to their dorms or apartments on foot. Some take the risk of getting into their cars after a long night of drinking, and others may even dig into their wallets and spring for a cab ride home.


But there is an additional option, frequently overlooked or unknown – the Saluki Express.

Students throughout the day coming to and from campus often use the bus transit system. But for late night travel there is only one route available: Route 8 of the Saluki Express, which runs Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30 p.m. to 2:25 a.m.

Demetrous White, Undergraduate Student Government president, said the idea of starting a SIUC “drunk bus” was discussed last year, but those proposing the idea were unaware of the late night service offered by Saluki Express. White said after finding out late night travel was offered, the topic was dropped.

“We didn’t see a need after knowing that service was already available,” White said.

Steve Ginn, Saluki Express assistant manager, said the service has been offered for nearly 10 years. Ginn said the late night bus route had a total of 159 riders in December, averaging out to fewer than seven people using the service each hour.

Western Illinois University offers Go West Transit, a bus system similar to Saluki Express, but during late night it’s referred to as the “drunk bus.” According to Erin Cline, a junior at Western and assistant with Go West Transit, the late night route offered at Western is extremely popular among students.

“It takes you all through campus and the town square,” Cline said. “It’s usually full, too.”


The late night bus at Western runs until 2 a.m. Thursdays and 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Cline said the bus runs through the most frequented parts of town and stops right in front of the bars, making it an easy travel option.

Camille Dorris, executive director of the Women’s Center, said the center has been promoting the use of night transit services since the early 1970s. Dorris said one tip for safe ways to travel at night would be to use the available night transit services.

“It’s probably underutilized for night travel,” Dorris said of the Saluki Express.

According to Dorris, other tips for safe night travel are to travel in groups, stay within well-lit areas and keep a cell phone at all times.

Madeleine Leroux can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 270 or [email protected].