The Minnesota Student Association’s late-night bus probably won’t start picking up students until next fall, MSA President Tom Zearley said.
“We’re not holding our breath for this year,” he said. “We want to hopefully get everything set in place for when students come in next year.”
Right now, Zearley said, MSA is trying to find funding for the program through different grants at the University. It is researching which grants to apply for and is working on writing the best application possible.
“Basically, with this kind of stuff, you have one shot of impressing them,” he said. “You basically get one chance.”
Zearley said he doesn’t want people to think of the program as “just a drunk bus.”
It is important to keep students from driving drunk, he said, but it’s also important for students studying late and attending night classes to get home safely.
“You look at what’s happened the past few weeks near campus and Minneapolis, and students are wondering, ‘How safe are we?’ ” he said.
While MSA fights for funding on its late-night bus, Gophers After Dark has its own late-night busing program, which began at the start of the school year.
Erich Martin, the Gophers After Dark director, said the program’s bus runs 26 weekends out of the school year, and the buses are primarily used to bring students to Coffman Union for late-night programs.
MSA’s bus would run every day, throughout the entire year.
MSA sat down with Gophers After Dark to try to team up on the late-night bus program but decided against it, Martin said.
“At this time, it’s not something that we’re really ready to jump on the bandwagon with,” Martin said. “There was nothing that they were bringing to the table to offer.”
On Friday night, the Gophers After Dark buses carried an average of nine people per trip, said Jacqueline Brudlos, marketing coordinator at Parking and Transportation Services.
It was “by far” the most riders the Gophers After Dark bus has had, she said.
Sophomore Todre Land said he wouldn’t use the bus now, but it would have been nice last year when he was living on campus.
“It’s important to get it as soon as possible,” he said. “I think a lot of kids would use it.”
Michaela Murzyn, a sophomore transfer student, said the late-night bus would only cater to students who live close to campus and study on campus.
“I don’t know how many students fit into that category,” she said.
Students can use Metro Transit buses rather than a University late-night bus, she said.
Metro Transit buses run less frequently late at night.
“Minneapolis isn’t a place where you can be walking outside all year long,” junior Erin Roberts said. “It’s just too cold.”
Roberts said it “sucks” that the late-night bus won’t arrive until next fall.
“But, I wasn’t really expecting it to happen, so I’m not really surprised,” she said.