CARBONDALE — RIDES Mass Transit will continue to provide break route service previously offered by the Saluki Express, according to the Carbondale City Council at its most recent meeting.
Southern Illinois University notified the city it was terminating its break route service at the end of 2017 summer semester. RIDES Mass Transit agreed to take over the service at the beginning of the 2017 fall semester and will continue to do so in 2018.
The City Council has traditionally provided funding to SIU for its bus service to help defer costs as well as pick up Carbondale residents along with students. The fiscal year 2018 budget for the city included $14,045 to be allocated to the bus service.
This past summer, RIDES and Jackson County Mass Transit were both consulted about taking over the route, according to city manager Gary Williams. He said RIDES already has an intergovernmental agreement with SIU offering other services, so it was an easy transition.
“They specialize in fixed route services,” he said. “They get funding from the federal government, so it was a good choice and they were already experienced in this type of service.”
Williams said RIDES took over the route in consultation with Jackson County Mass Transit so it wasn’t a competitive situation.
The university was forced to cut the break route due to cutbacks in revenue bought on by state revenues and student population declines. The service still runs eight additional routes.
The break route makes 40 stops throughout the day, starting at 10:25 a.m. until 9:19 p.m. It starts at the SIU Student Center. RIDES will cover all of the normal break route.