The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UISG sponsors free airport shuttle over school breaks

Ashley Morris
Abdalrhman Elgaali and Sheng Hao Lu speak at a UISG meeting in the University Capital Centre on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. The meeting included discussions and a vote concerning the proposed Airport Shuttle Legislation for UI students. (Ashley Morris/The Daily Iowan)

UISG gives the green light to provide free shuttle service between the IMU and the Eastern Iowa Airport during breaks.

By Sarah Watson
[email protected]

Students will be able to take advantage of free rides between the IMU and the Eastern Iowa Airport during school breaks this year.

At its Tuesday meeting, UISG passed legislation to set aside $20,000 to fund a shuttle between the airport and the IMU during Thanksgiving, winter, spring, and summer breaks.

Undergraduate students may ride the shuttles, contracted through Express Limousine Service, for free.

Depending on student registration, there will be at most 18 shuttles. Shuttles traveling to the airport will be the weekend before Thanksgiving on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday ranging from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and shuttling back from the airport Nov. 24-26 from 1 to 9 p.m.

“We have a lot of people who come from all over the world to study here,” co-sponsor of the legislation Abdalrhman Elgaali said. “Making it easier for them to have access to transportation to the airport and back would be very convenient and would benefit a wide range of students.”

Students will be able to reserve a spot on the shuttle by filling out a signup form. Kyle Scheer, the director of UISG Student Services, said he will send out a mass email with the form, which will also be available on the UISG website along with shuttle times.

UISG will pay $300 for a one-way trip in a small vehicle for one to 14 people and $500 for a one-way trip in a large vehicle for 15 to 28 people. The $20,000 will be set aside from UISG’s contingency fund, the organization’s reserve account.

To be able to use the funds the most efficiently, Elgaali said, if fewer than eight people sign up for a certain shuttle time, that time will be canceled.  Students will be notified by Nov. 15 by email if there aren’t enough students registered for a certain time slot with alternative options they can take advantage of such as earlier UISG shuttle times, Uber, or taxi services.

Scheer said if not all the money is used, it will go back into the contingency fund.

“The $20,000 is to indicate that is the most we are willing to spend on the program,” he said.

Contracts were signed by UI Purchasing Department and Express Limousine Service in late September, took effect Oct. 1, and will last through June 2018.

Students will be sent a feedback survey to evaluate their experience with the shuttle service. The service will be evaluated to see if UISG wants to continue to fund the shuttle system for the 2018-19 school year.

According to the Uber fare estimator, a trip from campus to the Eastern Iowa Airport would cost anywhere from $30-$50; according to the Cedar Rapids Taxi Fare Finder, that service would cost between $35-$40.

Lindsey Rayner, a UISG member who has worked on coordinating the services since last year, said Express Limousine Service would cost less for lots of students to be shuttled to the airport than such services as Uber or taxi.

“What we were trying to identify is how we can get the most number of students to the airport for the least amount of money for both parties involved,” Rayner said.

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