Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Proposal to add Wi-Fi on all city buses could raise student bus fees

University of Wisconsin student bus fees may rise as the city’s bus system works to add Wi-Fi to all its buses.

The rate hike will be charged only to organizations with a contract to provide unlimited-ride bus passes to employees or students, Metro General Manager Chuck Kamp said at a Board of Estimates meeting Tuesday.

The increase, which amounts to $0.05 per ride, would generate revenue needed to maintain the wireless network, according to Madison Mayor Paul Soglin’s 2015 operating budget proposal.


UW is one of several groups that would be affected by a higher rate for bus passes. The current rate extends until August 2015, and after that point, a new contract would be negotiated at the higher rate, Kamp said.

Currently, Associated Students of Madison is billed $1.15 each time a UW student uses a bus pass. The cost is paid by student segregated fees.

Outfitting all 214 buses in the Metro fleet with Wi-Fi would cost around $100,000, according to Soglin’s budget proposals, which also say the city would need an additional $96,300 each year to operate the network.

The goal is to have Wi-Fi installed in all city buses by April 2015, Kamp said.

Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, praised the proposal for adding Wi-Fi to Metro buses.

“I think this is an additional service that Madison Metro customers will come to quickly appreciate,” he said.

Verveer noted many passengers are using a mobile device on buses today, and implementing wireless Internet would save on customers’ personal mobile data needs.

The service would be especially beneficial for those with longer bus commutes, including students commuting off campus, he said.

“It seems like everybody uses either a smartphone or tablet on the buses now, especially the campus buses, and so I think it’s a type of amenity that our customers will really come to know and enjoy,” he said.

Madison Metro buses could have Wi-Fi as soon as 2015

The Board of Estimates also heard from the Building Inspection Division Director George Hank, who discussed his department’s proposed budget.

The 2015 budget proposal would include an increase in fee rates for building inspections, which have remained constant for 5 years.

A total of $1,250,000 in increased fees for building permit is included in the budget proposal, primarily due to an increase in construction in the city.

Hank said even with the increased demand his office has been able to respond to requests and complete inspections.

“The mayor has been very good at making sure we are staffed properly,” he said.

Building inspections occur about every 7 years, which is an attainable goal, Hank said.

According to Hank, the division is behind in inspections this year in part due to an increase in new employees’ training needs.

“We’ve had some new employees training. … I anticipate that as our new employees become more seasoned, we’ll be able to direct more of that time to program inspection,” he said.

In the future, the division will be able to handle even more requests, he said.

Hank said emphasis is not placed on inspecting newer buildings.

“We’re not about to look at a brand new building,” he said. “That would be a waste of time.”

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