Saluki Express routes will condense, following decreased ridership

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - SIU's bus system that serves most major areas of Carbondale will condense, following continuing enrollment declines and consistently lower ridership.

Overall, spring 2017 enrollment totaled 14,636 compared with 15,806 students enrolled in spring 2016.

SIU Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Stettler said in an email that the east and west routes will be combined, citing that they cover much of the same ground in opposite directions.

"Each route is a 20-minute circuit.  A 30-minute loop will be configured that will service SIU Arena, the Towers, and the Law School.  Unfortunately, service to Morris Library will be altered due to the bus size needed for this route.  (Bus must be small enough to make the hairpin turn in the Morris Library parking lot.)  Students wishing to get to the library will need to exit the bus anywhere on Lincoln Drive and walk to the center of campus. This change will realize a savings of $120,000 per year," said Stettler.

Additionally, the break route will be cancelled altogether.

"The Break Route will be cancelled. As our primary role is serving the transportation needs of fee paying students, the luxury of running this service over the break when students are not on campus is no longer viable. The $14,000 contribution by the City of Carbondale does not cover the $50,000+ cost of providing service to the community. The fare revenue from non-student riders does not create enough revenue to make this service feasible," said Stettler.

During the summer months, the existing Airport Route will be renamed the Summer West route, and will take students from campus to the SIU airport and Automotive Tech Center, as well as Murdale shopping center.

The existing Break Route will be renamed the Summer East Route, which will be slightly modified to service Park Street and Grand Avenue.

All other routes including the East, West, Grand Avenue, Late Night, Mall, Crosstown, Crosstown Weekend and the South will not run from May 14 through August 18.

The cancellation of these routes will save an estimated $166,312, according to Stettler.

After factoring in the costs associated with the Summer West Route and the Summer East route, total savings will be $131,985.

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