The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Student supports, gives suggestions on Mustang Express legislation

As a non car-owning off-campus-residing undergraduate student, I appreciate the actions of the Student Senate towards adding weekend service to the #768 Mustang Express.

I have walked on the weekends, especially on Sundays, in rain, wind, heat, and leftover snow drifts, before and after sunset, between Mockingbird Station and the Dallas Hall end of campus.  The lack of street lights on SMU Boulevard at the east of Dublin should be argument enough for weekend service on the #768 Mustang Express.

I was surprised at the $60,000 price tag for doing so.  Is the amount what it would cost to run the exact same schedule as the current weekday schedule?  

If so, I would recommend considering maybe once an hour service on the weekend, as well as ending service earlier in the evening, unless there is a large special event on campus, such as Celebration of Lights or a Mustangs’ home game.

If campus parking is still problematic for some it is reported that “students and staff can buy [DART] passes at five dollars” which is quite a bargain. For the cost of a one way regional-level fare, SMU students and staff can purchase an Annual Regional Pass that if purchased individually would cost $1,200.

According to www.dart.org/fares/collegesemesterpass.asp, a regional pass may only cost the University $20 per student per semester.  Obviously, even at the bulk rate the University is at some rate underwriting a majority of the cost to provide transit passes to students and staff.  Another way to meet the funding needed for weekend service would be ask students and staff to pay more for their annual passes.  Even $20 a year would not be unreasonable to ask.

Consider this, breakfast at Real Food on Campus in Umphrey Lee costs $7.58 including tax if purchased out of pocket, lunch costs over $9 including tax, and dinner over $10 including tax.

Would still paying less for a year’s mass transit pass that covers DART, Fort Worth’s The T System, the Trinity Railway Express, and the McKinney Avenue M Line Street Car than it costs to eat for a day at RFOC be such a hardship?  

With at least 10,000 people eligible for the special SMU price on the transit passes, a fourfold increase to the reasonable rate of $20 in 2011 from the dirt cheap rate of $5 in 2010 could result in $150,000 toward the $720,000 needed for year round weekend service on the #768 Mustang Express.

With a combination of increasing the ridiculously low cost of our DFW area regional transit passes and only providing hourly service during the most needed hours of “in-session” weekends, a way should be found towards providing needed weekend service to our campus.  

This is even more important as we will lose Saturday service on Mockingbird and Hillcrest with the December 2010 DART route & schedule changes.  

When those go in to effect, right before finals no less, it will be easier to take transit to the TCU campus on a Saturday from most of Dallas than it will be to get to our own campus, unless of course you like really long walks in all kinds of interesting weather from Mockingbird Station to campus.

Jan Anderson is a junior CTV major. She can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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