By: Diane Benjamin
The purpose of this story is to clarify how many ISU students ride buses and how much ISU pays for those rides.
Keep in mind employees at ISU ride with a pass just like students. The information I received does not distinguish between the two.
To determine what the relationship is between Connect and ISU, I started by FOIAing the contract between them. In that contract is reference to a report Connect sends to ISU every month recapping the number of rides.
Next I FOIA’d those reports, only year to date for the current fiscal year July 2018 through March 2019. The files I received are massive, but each has the totals at the top, so I’m using those.
How much does ISU charge students? Good question, I don’t know because it is not listed separately under Mandatory Fees. Below is one of the fee schedules, ISU has numerous tables: PDF page 11 and following: https://studentaccounts.illinoisstate.edu/downloads/2018-2019%20Billing%20Brochure06222018.pdf
Temporary detour: Those fees are charged by credit hour. If a student is taking 19 hours, they are paying $1,563.32 for the semester just in fees! PDF page 11 shows In-State tuition: $7,298.47 Insurance $262.00 Fees $1,563.32 for a total of $9,123.79. Fees are 17% of the cost! Housing isn’t included.
The table below shows total rides per month for Connect Transit: PDF page 18 https://www.connect-transit.com/documents/April%20Connect%20Transit%20Board%20Packet%204-19.pdf
I complied this table from the information I received:
Connect counts transfers twice, these number also include transfers. Note the cost per ride is less than citizens currently pay – $1.00.
See my Excel worksheet here: Connect Transit – ISU
PDF version – harder to read since it is on multiple pages: Connect Transit – ISU
If you look at either worksheet, it shows the number of unique students who ride the bus was highest in October – 5917. The lowest was in July – 541, of course ISU wasn’t in session in July. The pictures on the left edge are screen shots from the reports Connect Transit sent.
- All ISU students are subsidizing the ones that ride
- All ISU students are subsidizing staff etc – anyone with an ISU ID
- ISU is paying less for rides than other riders
- ISU fees are more than I paid for tuition! The cost now is way over the inflation rate.