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Buses to reach Ohio State off-campus area on weekends

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USG President Taylor Stepp speaks at a Sept. 3 committee meeting about the extended CABS weekend service. Credit: Daniel Bendtsen / Lantern reporter

USG President Taylor Stepp speaks at a Sept. 3 committee meeting about the extended CABS weekend service. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor

Some options for students’ rides home on the weekends will continue with an extension of the Ohio State campus bus service’s late-night options.

The Campus Area Bus Service East Residential weekend service will continue through at last the end of Spring Semester, Undergraduate Student Government President Taylor Steppannounced at the USG committee meeting Tuesday night.

The East Residential route runs buses from campus and circles the off-campus area east of High Street. The route runs as far south as11th Avenue and as far north as Hudson Street with stops along 4thand Summit streets which the bus hits every 30 minutes.

The extended service is set to run 7 a.m. Friday until 2 a.m. Saturday, and Saturday from 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. Sunday.

The service went through a trial run during Spring Semester 2013 after Stepp’s administration approached the university with the idea as a way to improve student safety.

Stepp said he got the idea from one of his opponents in the 2012 USG election, who had included it in his campaign platform. Once elected, Stepp had meetings with Beth Kelley-Snoke, director of Transportation & Traffic Management, Jay Kasey, senior vice president of Administration and Planning and Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president of Student Life, who were all supportive of the program, he said.

Stepp called the program a “tremendous success,” and said Transportation & Traffic Management and Student Safety Service representatives were both pleased with results of the trial period.

“This is going to be a fantastic way to be proactive about safety,” Stepp said. “A lot of what happens with these safety issues at Ohio State comes from students who are walking late on weekends back from parties or wherever they might be coming from. And it’s going to not only provide safety services on the bus but also a route to get home. I think it’s going to deter crime and make our campus safer.”

While CABS did previously run buses east of High on weekdays, service on Fridays stopped at midnight and there was no service on Saturday.

Stepp said USG provided roughly half the funds to start the service in the spring but said CABS is paying the whole bill this year. USG did not use student funds to pay for the service in the spring, instead using USG-earmarked yields from a Coca-Cola Co. endowment, Stepp said.

“We predicted students would take advantage of the pilot program in the spring, and they have. So we wanted to put some skin in the game to get this to happen,” Stepp said.

Stepp referred The Lantern to an OSU spokeswoman for Administration and Planning Lindsay Komlanc for cost information.

Komlanc said in an email the extended hours will cost $800 per weekend and USG had contributed up to $20,000 for the pilot program in the spring. She added the university has noticed the program to be successful.

“Ridership data was collected during this pilot program and results indicated that the extended service was highly utilized in the late evening hours,” she said.

Several students expressed support for the program, even if they won’t use it.

“The buses are definitely a convenience, so anytime they’re running, students will be benefitting from them, I’m sure. I live on campus so I’ve never really used them, but I know a lot of people who do,” said Antoinette Metzler, a second-year in neuroscience.

Storm Mohn, a first-year in biology, said he thinks it will benefit student safety.

“I’ve never used (those buses). But I think it’s a good idea. For students coming back to campus, it’s better than walking, especially if they’re intoxicated,” he said.

 

An earlier version of this story said USG-earmarked yields from a Koch Industries endowment were previously used toward the cost of the additional CABS services. In fact, the funds were from USG-earmarked yields from a Coca-Cola Co. endowment.

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