GSB may seek free CyRide for students

Steven Brittain

In an effort to make CyRide more accessible to a broader base of students, the Government of the Student Body is proposing a referendum to make CyRide bus service both fare-free and available to areas not currently serviced by the buses. The proposal will be presented to the senate Wednesday night.Through the combined efforts of Jennifer Larson, RCA; Andrew Hamilton, GSB director of Safety, Traffic and Transportation, and Bob Bourne, director of CyRide, the referendum proposes an overhaul of the current CyRide system.The proposition would call for a $9-per-semester increase in student fees, Hamilton said. The original figure was $13.50, but the university agreed to pay one-third of the cost, he said.Hamilton said the $9-per-student fee, combined with what the university adds in, will be used to pay for the service increases and providing a free bus fare.If GSB approves the proposal, Larson said students will vote on a referendum on the ballot during GSB general elections in March to expand service and eliminate fares. If students show enough support for the proposal, then the changes will be made, she said.”Students would just have to show their fee card and they will be able to ride anywhere that CyRide goes,” Hamilton said. “It would be a lot more convenient to students if they didn’t have to worry about paying every time that they wanted to get on the bus.”CyRide also would add a Gold Route, he said, which would run through the greek community, a part of campus that hasn’t been serviced in the past.Isaac Olsen, member of Phi Kappa Theta fraternity, 2110 Lincoln Way, said the greek system has been overlooked for too long by CyRide.”The greek system makes up a huge part of the student population at Iowa State,” said Olsen, junior in exercise and sport science. “I think that it would be a huge convenience for the students that live in or around greekland to have access to CyRide.”Larson said she has heard a variety of opinions concerning the referendum.”I’ve heard a lot of positive reactions to the proposal, but there have been some negative reactions, too,” she said. “The main reason for the disapproval comes from students who don’t want to pay for a service that they don’t use.”Hamilton said residence halls are also meeting the plan with mixed emotions.”Of course, the kids out in Towers and in off-campus residences are for this plan, being that they use the buses all of the time,” he said. “Students in [Richardson Court Association] and [Union Drive Association] don’t necessarily use the service very often, so I expect a wide array of opinions from them.”Hamilton said this referendum also could be used to aide Iowa State in several other areas.”This could be a great recruiting tool,” he said. “It could ease the parking problem, and it could cut down on the congested traffic in Ames. There are definitely more positives than negatives.”