By Neil Doyle
NORMAL – Illinois State University plans to extend its contract with Connect Transit to allow free bus service for students, faculty and staff.
ISU trustees will vote Saturday on the new agreement that would extend the bus service for six months starting Jan. 1 and would cost $289,068, or $48,178 a month.
Last week, a divided Connect Transit Board refused to accept a recommendation that would have extended the contract. Board Chair Mike McCurdy said the two sides reached a tentative agreement Wednesday.
“I’m thrilled that service will continue and I don’t think anyone on our board or staff wanted to remove service,” said McCurdy. “But, we also have to look at the bottom line and make sure that Connect Transit is getting close to the funds that it takes to provide that service.”
ISU uses Connect Transit buses to run its Redbird Express Service. Plus, the Universal Access Agreement allows students, faculty, and staff to ride all fixed route buses for free by swiping a valid identification card. Connect has provided universal access to ISU since 2006.
The Connect Board will meet Tuesday to vote on the contract extension.
Meantime, ISU’s governing board will decide whether university president Larry Dietz has earned a performance bonus. The board will also vote on spending $1.3 million to construct an Asian grill and noodle bar on the second floor of the Bone Student Center.
Neil Doyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org