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Bus pass vote for students


The Max Green Line runs along Troost Avenue as part of the KCATA’s bus rapid transit system.
The Max Green Line runs along Troost Avenue as part of the KCATA’s bus rapid transit system.

This week students are asked to vote on a bus pass that would be included in their semester fees.

The pass will cost $14 per semester and provide students with an all-access pass to The Kansas City Metro bus system.

This is the second time the vote has been proposed.

The first vote was held in the spring of 2010.

The vote had a low voter turnout and drew to a tie at 256 “yes” and “no” votes.

This means the vote only received a total of 512 votes overall.

“The first time the vote occurred, my sense was that it wasn’t very well publicized as a vote,” said Interim Vice Chancellor for Administration Bob Simmons.

But it was seen as an important enough vote to give it a second go.

“Students and senators saw that it was really important to push this vote again due to the large number of international students that we have on campus and the regular commuter students,” Student Government Association President Klassie Alcine said.

And with the vote this year, much more is being done to make students aware.

“We have a student referendum committee that actually is in charge of advertising for the event,” Alcine said.

Throughout the week, that advertising team will be painting a mural in the Student Union to spread awareness for the vote.

Andy Clarke, a forerunner in the student advertising team thinks the mural will be a visual aid for students.

“The coolest thing we thought of was creating a mural so students can see how this is a collaborative effort,” Clarke said. “It doesn’t really matter what your major is or what you are studying. It’s an overall issue for everybody, even staff and faculty.”

The artists of the mural are excited to paint while students are walking by and viewing the evolution of the piece.

“We will be engaging the people around us, it is going to be a very communal experience,” studio art major Ruben Ruhl said. “We’re really brainstorming how we can cause that interaction with people who travel the bus lines.”

“Connectivity is the general overall drive for this endeavor,” studio art major Scott Foulk said.

With the Oak Street parking garage to be demolished in May, the Volker campus will lose more than 700 student parking spaces until the new garage is complete.

The bus pass may alleviate some of the parking tension due to the new development.

But not everyone is sold on the idea.

“When the senate debated this issue, the biggest issue was that everyone had to buy into it,” Alcine said. “Students can’t pick and choose if they want to opt in or opt out.”

With the recent increase of University of Missouri tuition, many are weary of adding yet another fee to what students already pay.

“Everyone, [from] faculty, staff, and students are concerned about the cost of education,” Simmons said.

But both Simmons and Alcine agree the positives outweigh the costs of the bus pass for students.

“This allows students to perhaps not bring a car to campus and look at what you would save for parking?” Simmons said.

“And this is a way to lower our carbon print and make the environment a cleaner place,” Alcine said, “So it really comes down to affordability, convenience, and sustainability.”

The convenience for the bus has been made easier with the KCATA adding a new Max line on Troost Avenue this past January.

“We’re oriented between the two bus transit lines the two Max lines,” Simmons said. “We’ve had the Main Street, Brookside line for several years on the west edge, and then as it opened January 1 we have the Troost line which actually uses the green hybrid buses.”

So with all the positives, Clarke is hopeful that the vote will pass.

“Now the time has come to get the vote through,” Clarke said, “We are already to connected but we don’t have a ticket to get on. And it’s so expensive right now, $50 a month as a apposed to $14 a semester is huge savings.”

Voting will open 8 a.m. Feb. 15 and will close Feb. 17. Students can vote at www.umkc.edu/sga.

kbryce@unews.com

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