University of Illinois Springfield students have a new option to get to downtown nightlife on the weekends. Free rides between campus and the bars in the heart of Springfield on Friday and Saturday nights began in January.
A 16-person shuttle runs every hour between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., and riders must have a valid student ID. The plan is to have the shuttle run through the end of the semester in May.
The service gives students the chance to get off campus and enjoy downtown, said Student Government Association president Austin Mehmet.
The student organization is funding the service with $3,000, with Downtown Springfield Inc. and three local bars/nightclubs chipping in another $3,000, according to Mehmet.
In an emailed statement, a university administrator emphasized that the SGA is an independent organization that receives no state or university funds.
"The University recognizes the Student Government Association's goal is to enhance the safety of their peers by arranging for safe and reliable transportation to and from downtown establishments during the weekends," wrote Clarice Ford, UIS interim vice chancellor for student affairs.
Mehmet said student reaction has been positive so far.
"I think they're appreciative of the fact that we're trying to provide transposition to local bars without the risk of drunk driving or a $13 Uber ride both ways," Mehmet said.
This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on February 17, 2017.
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