Boyntonto run MSA Express

MSA decided to institutionalize the program to ensure its survival in the future.

Amber Kispert

The black-and-gold MSA Express van – a common sight around campus on the weekends – could soon be institutionalized by the University.

As part of a student-life program, operating responsibilities for the MSA Express will fall on the shoulders of Boynton Health Service next year. Currently, the express is paid for with MSA’s student-service fees.

Running the MSA Express will cost BHS about $58,000 a year to operate, Dave Golden, director of public health and communications for Boynton, said.

Currently, Boynton doesn’t have money budgeted for the service, but they are still hoping for implementation by next year, Golden said.

“We have a few more hoops to go through,” he said.

Taking on the MSA Express also still needs to be officially approved by Boynton administration, he said.

“So far, all of the staff we have talked to are pretty friendly to the idea,” he said.

MSA president Emma Olson said MSA decided to institutionalize the program because they wanted to ensure that the MSA Express would continue from year to year.

“Students want to be safe and this program is one of the best ways to ensure late night student safety on campus,” she said.

On average, the express sees 60 to 80 riders a night, Olson said, noting they still have to turn riders away.

“Right now, we’re over capacity by a long shot,” she said.

Boynton is looking at expanding the express by adding an additional van to help with the demand, Golden said.

Unlike MSA, Boynton will be leasing the vans from University Fleet Services instead of owning the vans, Chairwoman of the Student Health Advisory Committee Chloe Schrab said.

Schrab said transitioning the MSA Express into Boynton will be a great thing because it will increase the safety of the service.

In contrast to MSA’s volunteer drivers, Boynton will be paying their drivers and giving them more health advocacy training, Golden said.

Students are still going to drive the vans because that’s part of its appeal, Schrab said.

However, not everyone is as excited about the transition of the MSA Express. Nathan Olson, founder of the MSA Express, said he thinks MSA should have continued to operate the program for at least another year because it’s only a two-year-old service.

“I think it’s good that they’re taking steps to ensure that the MSA Express continues beyond this year, but it’s disappointing to see MSA give up the control of the service,” he said. “It was something that MSA had going for it.”

Nathan Olson said he is also disappointed that he was not included in this decision process, even though he was the founder.

“I feel like I should have been consulted at some point in this process because I’m still emotionally invested in the service,” he said. “The thing with a service like this is you have to take baby steps.”

MSA will continue to suggest improvements to Boynton throughout the transition process.

“Any idea is on the floor, at this point,” Golden said.