Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Bus-pass program in jeopardy

Negotiations for the segregated-fee-funded citywide bus pass could be coming to a stalemate, according to sources close to the talks.

Sources indicate student negotiators are considering a walkout, placing the future of the program in doubt.

Madison Metro initially proposed between a 60 to 70 percent cost increase to Associated Students of Madison for the next fiscal year, raising what students now collectively pay, about $1.6 million in segregated fees, to a possible $2.72 million, they said.


Currently, student patronage accounts for approximately 25 percent of Metro’s business, sources said.

Madison Metro was not available for comment.

Student segregated fees, a tax surcharge attached to the tuition bills of all University of Wisconsin students, pay for the bus pass.

Sources also pointed to the fact that Madison Metro wishes to negotiate on a yearly basis. Currently, the bus-pass contract operates on a three-year agreement.

The negotiations, which are closed to the public and involve Associated Students of Madison mediators, have been underway for several weeks. The city made the initial proposal “significantly” more than the current contract, according to multiple sources close to the negotiations.

The student representatives submitted an altered offer, to which the city issued a counteroffer. The ASM negotiators are now waiting on Madison Metro’s response to the fourth proposal in the compromises.

ASM negotiator and Student Services Finance Committee Vice Chair Janell Wise said the process is not unusually stalled this year.

“I think they’re pretty standard for how they usually go between student government and Madison Metro,” Wise said of the duration and intensity of the negotiations.

However, she did say last term’s contract went by more quickly than this year.

“The one three years ago was really astonishing to everybody because it went so quickly,” Wise said.

Though Wise did not explicitly say any internal discussion to walk out on the negotiations took place, she did not say it was out of the question.

“We haven’t ruled any option out,” Wise said, adding she knows this is a program worth fighting for and popular among students.

SSFC Chair Aaron Werner, who is not involved with the negotiations, said certain restrictions must be applied to the contracts for segregated-fee budgets.

“If there is a 60 to 70 percent increase (in the contract), students should walk out,” Werner said.

Peter McCabe, an ASM negotiator and SSFC member, said bus passes are very popular among UW students.

“The one thing that I do know is that this is by far and away the most popular program [ASM sponsors],” McCabe said. “Students overwhelmingly endorse this program.”

McCabe also added the student bus pass does not just benefit the students, but also helps the city.

“We’re making for a significant number that doesn’t come to a very significant cost,” McCabe said. “What we’re doing is filling buses that are already running.”

Wise, who met with University of Wisconsin Chancellor John Wiley this past week, did say if negotiations were to sour, she was assured students will receive the support of the administration.

“I’m sure [Wiley] would [support the bus pass],” Wise said. “I’m confident that not only the students like the program and think the program is great, but I think the program does serve some of the university’s goals for students. I really feel like this program is good for both the administration and good for the students.”

Wise added the issue negotiators are most concerned with signing a contract that is a “good deal” for students.

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