Bus systems prepare for possible overcrowding

IU not sure what to expect when free busing begins

More than 35,000 students returning to IU this fall will receive "free" city and campus bus transportation, but nobody knows what kind of strain that will place on the system.\n"There is no way to know ahead of time how (student ridership) patterns are going to be next year," said James Hosler, director of IU Campus Bus Services. "It's one of those situations where you are anticipating problems, but they are good problems. The changes will have a positive impact on the campus and they will provide an overall good benefit to students."\nHosler said the benefits of otherwise free bus travel to students include not having to purchase an additional bus pass and decreased parking hassles due to decreased campus automobile congestion. He said overall ridership throughout the campus bus system has decreased somewhat due to a smaller 2004 freshman class than previous semesters in the past few years.\n"Summer is a busy time for us as we gear up for the start of the fall semester -- the first week of service is 'free week' for the entire community," said Lew May, Bloomington Transit general manager. "We are also looking at making service changes -- do we need to adjust or refine our routes and schedules?"\nMay said bus travel is often a convenient method of transportation to and from campus and downtown Bloomington for students and residents alike. He said Bloomington Transit does not expect significant overall student ridership increases this fall, but certain bus lines like the 6 Route and C Route might receive additional student travelers. \nSenior Ryan Krueger said he rides the city bus at least two or three times a week and the campus bus a couple times a month. He said the city and campus buses do a good job fulfilling their purpose -- taking students and residents from point A to point B. \n"Free campus buses works out a lot better for students. I never understood having to buy a bus pass to ride the school bus when I could ride the town bus for free," Krueger said. "(My peers) do have a lot of concerns about riding the bus. There is a stigmatization that occurs with public transportation." \nMay said the Bloomington Transit transports about 2 million riders a year throughout town -- of which, he said about 200 customers offer Bloomington Transit personnel positive or negative feedback. \n"The drivers understand we can't always meet everyone's expectations, but we want to provide the best customer service we can," May said. "We want our riders to have good experiences riding Bloomington Transit and we don't want to repeat bad \nexperiences."\nBloomington Transit and Campus Bus Services policy requests that riders do not eat or drink, smoke, disrupt the driver or display offensive behavior or language. Passengers can call 336-Ride to voice their comments, opinions or suggestions about BT or BT service and 855-8384 to speak with CBS personnel about the same kinds of issues.

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