Students living on Ben Hur Road and Brightside Drive will find a new designated driver in a recently announced fourth evening bus route on the weekends.
The bill to add the new Tiger Trails route was passed by Student Government last Wednesday.
The newly added “drunk bus,” as students often refer to it, will begin running Thursday. The new route will cost approximately $12,500 to run until May 4 and will be funded through SG’s Initiative Account.
Mass communication freshman Alexande DeBlieux, who authored the bill to fund the new evening bus route, said it is a great idea to add this fourth bus to the existing three evening Tiger Trails buses.
DeBlieux said he recently attended a University parking forum where he said the idea of a fourth evening bus route was discussed, but there was no available funding for that route.
“If so many people want this bus, then why wouldn’t Student Government pay for this bus?” DeBlieux said. “We have the money, so let’s do this.”
However, this newly added fourth bus is only being temporarily funded because SG’s Initiative Account can only be allocated to new initiatives.
DeBlieux said SG has three different accounts — initiative, surplus and contingency.
“My plan is to find an alternative way to pay for this bus next semester,” DeBlieux said. “But if it comes to a point where Student Government has to pay for it, we have already planned for that.”
DeBlieux said if SG has to pay for the route again next semester, he plans to pay for it through the surplus account.
Both Meredith Westbrook, speaker of the Senate, and DeBlieux said they hope the bus will eventually be funded through alternative means.
Although SG accounts are funded by student fees, Westbrook said raising student fees is “absolutely not” among possible options to fund the bus in the future.
Westbrook said student safety should be a top priority for SG.
“If there is anything Student Government can do to improve safety for our students, then we need to do it,” Westbrook said.
She said DeBlieux did a great job pin-pointing an issue that will affect approximately 2,000 students who live near the route.
“Students are going to go to Tigerland, and they’re going to go out to bars, and a lot of those students live in The Cottages and The Woodlands,” Westbrook said.
One of those students who lives in this area is digital arts sophomore Elizabeth Blanchard, who thinks this new bus route is a good idea to avoid DUI checkpoints on Ben Hur.
She also said this is something that will help students who live in The Cottages.
“It’s obviously too far to walk from The Cottages to the bars,” Blanchard said. “This is a good way for students to go out without having to take the risk of driving drunk.”
Austin Hebert, a business senior who lives at The Cottages, said he is “stoked” about the new bus route.
“This is like the equivalent of living in Herget Hall and taking the bus back from the bars,” Hebert said. “It’s great not having to worry about planning a ride back from the bars. It’s like living freshman year all over again.”
Hebert said he thinks the bus will be popular with students who live at The Cottages.
“There are a lot of students who live here now that used to live on campus and were used to taking the drunk bus home,” Hebert said.
The new evening bus will run Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. beginning this Thursday.