Bus service to Whitewater not likely by fall

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Kayla Bunge
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
— A bus service to link Janesville, Milton and Whitewater likely won’t start this fall as officials spearheading the project had hoped.

Janesville city officials are asking UW-Whitewater students to help support the service with an addition of $5 to their semester student fees. Student support is key to the proposal, transit director Dave Mumma previously told the Gazette.

Officials on Monday presented to UW-Whitewater student government results of a recent study that looked at the demand for such a bus service. But student government likely won’t take action on the proposal until school resumes in the fall, President Tim Scully previously told the Gazette.

Janesville city officials must make a formal request for student fees to the Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee, UW-Whitewater spokeswoman Sara Kuhl said.

The committee meets throughout the school year but usually does not entertain formal requests for fees until the fall and does not approve or deny requests until the following fall, Kuhl said. The bus service proposal likely would not be considered until October and might not get the green light until October 2011, she said.

The committee then refers its recommendation to student government and the chancellor’s office, Kuhl said. The UW System Board of Regents has the final word on fee requests, she said.

“It’s quite a process,” she said. “There’s lots of deliberation, lots of opportunities for students to talk about these kinds of things.”

The bus service probably would not be ready for implementation for a couple years given the extensive approval process that lies ahead, Mumma said Tuesday.

“We just don’t have enough time for that process to work,” he said. “There’s a very, very outside chance there’s an expedited process they could follow to get a read on the students before the fall, but I’m not holding my breath.”

Janesville city officials next week are meeting with UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer and his staff to discuss the project and to get input as to how best to move through the process, Mumma said. Officials next week also will be making formal presentations to city officials in Milton and Whitewater, he said.

The city of Janesville and the Janesville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization received a grant to study the demand for bus service from Janesville to Whitewater.

No bus service now exists between the three cities, although the county offers service for people with disabilities and senior citizens.

The study indicates the service for students and the general public could be feasible.

Students were asked in a survey to indicate their likelihood of riding the bus based on the cost. About 75 percent said they would support student fees between $2.50 and $7.50 per semester in exchange for annual bus passes. About 20 percent said they would ride if a fare of about $2.50 per ride was charged in addition to the student fees.

The proposed route would leave from the Janesville Mall and stop at Pine Tree Plaza and Van Galder Bus Co., where passengers could connect to bus service to Madison and Chicago. The route would continue to Milton and Whitewater.

Last updated: 1:19 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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