MTD board unanimously approves extending deal with UI until 2021

MTD board unanimously approves extending deal with UI until 2021

CHAMPAIGN — A 29-year-long agreement to provide regular bus service to University of Illinois students, faculty and staff will be extended three years under a unanimous vote of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District board Wednesday.

Under the intergovernmental agreement that runs until June 30, 2021, the UI will pay the transit district $5.53 million in the first year, $5.68 million in the second and $5.81 million in the final year of the contract.

The partnership was formed in 1989, a memo to MTD board members said, to provide safe, evening transit service for students and to meet the campus administration's desire to avoid more and bigger parking decks.

It also has reduced congestion on campus, board member Linda Bauer said.

"It's a real benefit to have more people on one vehicle," she said.

The MTD provides free rides to university passengers under the deal and also operates a SafeRides demand-response program for late night university riders.

University students make up the bulk of MTD passengers during a typical month. In March, for example, of the 1.15 million passengers the MTD carried, 887,879 were UI students. Another 37,096 were UI faculty and staff.

Also Wednesday, the MTD board agreed to pay $168,070 to Feutz Contractors for construction of a sidewalk linking MTD administrative facilities at 1101 E. University Ave., Urbana, with its new CDL training facility at 1207 W. University Ave., U.

And MTD Managing Director Karl Gnadt said an open house would be held next week to gauge interest in an on-demand transit service in southwest Champaign.

The hearing will be from 5 to 7 p.m. May 2 at Champaign Fire Station No. 6 at 3911 W. Windsor Road, Champaign, to see whether residents in an area generally bounded by Kirby Avenue on the north, Rising Road on the west, Interstate 57 on the east and Windsor Road on the south would be interested in the service. Under the plan, riders would use an app to request a trip in a small van to one of three destinations: the Stephens Family YMCA, the MTD transfer point on Round Barn Road or a regular MTD bus stop in southwest Champaign.

"It's a service that we can provide in large, low-demand areas at a low cost," Gnadt said. "People can hail the vehicle on an app and then use that to connect with the fixed routes that go everywhere else."

The cost would be the same as a regular fare: $1.