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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Campus bus services to increase by $12,000 in budget

A student government committee addressed details of the more than $4 million transportation budget for the next fiscal year Monday, which could still see an increase in the cost of Madison Metro services to students.

The proposed budget includes a $12,000 projected increase in the cost of campus bus direct services and a slight increase in the projected cost of the city bus pass program. 

Margaret Bergamini, Associated Students of Madison Transportation program adviser, told the Student Services Finance Committee the increase in projected campus bus costs is partly due to a compromise to pay for part of the costs requested by University of Wisconsin Transportation Services and partly because of the projected increase in the per-hour cost of renting services from Madison Metro.


According to Bergamini, before 2008 the cost structure of campus bus services was a “fare-box equivalent,” an estimated lump sum cost that is about the same as what students would put into the fare boxes when they ride campus buses.

However, as the cost and demand of campus bus services continue to increase, UW Transportation Services started to request a proportional payment of the total cost of the program and that ASM pay for part of the administrative costs.

“This was something that the Student Transportation Board steadfastly objected to,” Bergamini said. “The bottom line is that students fought a good fight on this starting in 2008. We lost.”

Due to the increased expenses to UW Transportation, the campus bus service faced several cuts last spring. Cuts were made across the board from the services that were most needed by students to the late-night buses that run until 3 a.m., she said.

Ridership of the campus buses decreased slightly after the cuts in services, according to the data presented by the Student Transportation Board.

“People were not happy about it,” Bergamini said. 

In order to avoid future cuts, the recommended budget fully funds the request to cover part of the administration cost and increase in hourly rent of Metro’s service. 

According to a survey sent to more than 34,000 students from the Student Transportation Board, students find the free campus bus service useful.

Bergamini said the message from the survey was a large number of students said the service was worth paying extra money.

“What came through loud and clear was that they were willing to pay what we estimated, $11 charges per semester…and more if it meant keeping the service the same,” she said.

Jo Matzner, a member of the Student Transportation Board, said only about 1,500 students responded to the survey, and they were people who use the campus bus service frequently.

According to Bergamini, 98 percent of the transportation budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year is made up of the costs for campus bus services and the contract between the university and the Madison Metro bus system.

The contract guarantees unlimited free bus rides to those enrolled at UW on all Madison bus routes.

Bergamini said the university signs a three-year contract with two one-year extensions.

In the upcoming year, either party has the right to reopen the contract to raise the charge per bus ride, which is $1.15 every time a student swipes the bus pass, she said.

“[Madison Metro does] not want to do that this year, which is good news for us…it has increased the per-swipe cost to $1.25 for some other parties,” Bergamini said.

SSFC Chair Ellie Bruecker said she is satisfied with the transparency of the budget, although she said she is not thrilled about the increase in campus bus costs for no additional services.

The budget will be voted on by SSFC next Monday.

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