Agreement shifts intercampus bus route to StarTranDec 13th, 2012 | By tfedderson2 | Category: 2012, Campus News, Dec. 13, Issue
StarTran, the City of Lincoln’s bus service, will assume total control of UNL’s intercampus bus route starting Jan. 2.
Riders will not experience any changes in the intercampus — 24 Holdrege or 24 Vine — route or schedule. The change does reduce UNL’s transit-related responsibilities and expenses over time, allowing Parking and Transit Services to focus on campus parking services.
Dan Carpenter, director of Parking and Transit Services, said transfer of the route to StarTran grew from a recommendation made from a 2009 evaluation of the campus transit system.
“The service life of our buses is long past and the consultants recommended that, instead of purchasing new buses at $400,000 each, we expand our contract with StarTran to let them run the entire intercampus fleet,” said Carpenter. “In the long run this agreement saves UNL money.”
Under the terms of the five-year agreement, StarTran will continue to run the four buses it currently operates on weekdays during the fall and spring semester. They will also assume service of the four buses UNL runs during both semesters, in the evenings to 9 p.m., in the summer and between semesters.
StarTran is purchasing five buses for the expanded coverage of the route. UNL will assume the related-operating costs (personnel, maintenance, fuel, etc.). Total cost to UNL is about $2.2 million per year.
Both the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and the Lincoln City Council approved the agreement.
“Unfortunately, we are reducing staff by four full-time drivers,” said Carpenter. “Our drivers have always been great. It really is unfortunate to lose that A-level talent. They are all customer service-oriented individuals who our riders really loved.”
Carpenter said the UNL drivers were advised when StarTran went to hire for the expanded service, allowing them the opportunity to be within the job pool.
The contract allows StarTran to expand transit services and add about 400,000 in annual ridership.
Faculty, staff and students who have UNL bus passes will continue to ride without having to pay a fare.
The agreement extends the 86-year relationship between UNL and public transportation services in Lincoln. It also reinforces the importance of public transportation to students who use the service.