‘Save The Shuttle’ Fails to Save Students Money
By Victoria Priola
After four years of financial turmoil, CSI turns to students for assistance to support Loop and Ferry Shuttle service.
CSI Student Association allocated the Transportation Fee of $40 to Student Activity fees paid every semester to continue funding the $1.6 million bus services.
“Transportation services are great but they are a luxury,” said Ira Persky, Vice President of Finances and Administration. “Some people forget that and assume it’s expected.”
According to the Bursar office, the fee was implemented during the first week of the fall 2015 semester, after tuition bills were released.
Minutes from a Student Government meeting on November 6 state that the College applied and received a $400,000 grant from the state to keep the buses running.
CSI applied for the same grant in 2014, receiving $185,000.
Over a year ago, Persky proposed the Transportation Fee believing it could get CSI out of debt. SG held several meetings throughout the fall and spring semesters discussing the proposal.
According to the meeting minutes, Senators felt the fee was unfair to students who drive to campus, because they already pay $111 for a parking decal. And in a meeting in April of last semester, an overwhelming vote in favor of the fee was passed, with three rejections and four abstentions.
“Our SG didn’t agree on much this year,” said Donald Hudec, SG Coordinator. “But they all had the students best interest in mind.”
When no alternative options proved to be successful, a petition to implement Persky’s plan called “Save the Shuttle” was created and brought to students.
It received 2,000 signatures, which were verified by Carol Brower, Director of Student Life, and the rest of her department, and received votes from 803 students online—74 percent of all voters—during the 2015 spring SG elections, according to Hudec.
The parking decal covers the cost of the office operations, parking lot maintenance, public safety vehicles and the Dolphin Cards system. According to Persky, the roads on campus were not built to endure what they do on a daily basis.
“No one likes paying for things they don’t utilize,” said Persky. “If the 3,000 people that take the Ferry Shuttle every day drove to campus, they’d make parking very difficult.”
Funds from the decal also support paying for snow removal. Last winter, $175,000 was spent on snow removal alone. Administration predicts that, with the help of state funds, roads will be repaired within the next 18 months.
The price of the parking decal has increased within the past year, with funds from that, according to Finances and Administration, going towards the creation of new parking spots, including the 47 new ones in Lot 4.
“Our parking cost is nothing compared to campuses in New Jersey,” said Persky. “You’d be shocked to see what they have to pay.”
The Transportation fee is predicted to accumulate $1.1 million in revenue. It will not cover all expenses but Finances and Administration suggests it’s a step in the right direction.
When Administration was asked about a backup plan, they stated that the fee would be successful and would work improve it as time goes on.
Persky claimed that he could not predict the impact of the fee in five years.
Students have reported that they are charged an extra $10 when they swipe their Dolphin Card upon boarding the buses. Persky denied that these charges had to do with the Transportation fee and if anyone has any questions, they should speak to him directly.
“All the money will go back to the college,” said Brower. “It will all go towards improving the transportation on campus.”