It Takes a Village to Pay For the Bus

It Takes a Village to Pay For the Bus

 

Photo by Michelle Louie/UCSD GUARDIAN
Photo by Michelle Louie/UCSD GUARDIAN

Too often, our campus falls into money troubles and our student and administrative higher-ups will ask us to help foot the bill. In the case of Transportation and Parking Services, as with the Student Health Insurance Plan, students are  again being asked to pay more to help offset the school’s departmental fiscal mistakes.

In the current TPS/Shuttles/buses/bikes crisis, a simple economics error may end up costing commuters dearly if the current referendum to raise fees by $50 per quarter fails. TPS has been paying for your seemingly “free” bus zone sticker with funds generated from parking tickets and permits. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a free ride — again, TPS has been paying for buses with money earned in other operations. Not smart, it turns out, as TPS’ debt has spiked a decent way into the seven digits.

UCSD Confessions and Snaps vilify parking enforcement officers for giving out costly tickets for violations. But hey, those tickets pay for your roommate’s trip to CVS on the 201. If the referendum fails, though, the cost of a bus sticker will spike from “free” to $72 a month, putting commuters in a tight spot while TPS further tightens its grip on parking.

Sure, we didn’t start this fire. Why should we have to pay for this?

Unfortunately, we have to go the distance here to ensure that our campus remains a bustling center for innovation, student life and diversity. We need this to pass.

In recent years, some previous fee increases would have actually made tangible change to campus, but fell flat at the ballot box.

It should have been a no-brainer that students would endorse an $11-a-quarter fee increase to pay for the maintenance of Price Center, the Old Student Center, Che Cafe and to reopen the Crafts Center. The 2013 referendum’s passage could have meant a Price Center that was open 24 hours a day as a perfect study space. The price seemed fair (down from an originally proposed $19) and eleven bucks per quarter comes out to only one dollar per week.

But the referendum failed. Badly.

Why didn’t students want to help keep the main campus center in working order — let alone the UCSD Guardian’s office building, whose restrooms are often closed — for just a dollar a week? The choice seemed clear, but we rejected it anyway. Now Che is on the verge of shutting down and University Center’s Advisory Board is working to bring Starbucks to campus to help pay the bills.

My disdain for Caramel Macchiatos aside, the Starbucks move may be a necessity to help quench a growing UCAB thirst for extra cash — one that may have been avoided with the $600k we could have raised through the fee increase.

Voting is open until tomorrow at 4 p.m. Let’s make sure that we can keep the buses flowing and the student body going. I urge our readers to consider the plight of their fellow students and vote yes on the transportation referendum.

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  • C

    common senseMay 22, 2014 at 8:02 am

    > In recent years, some previous fee increases would have actually made tangible change to campus, but fell flat at the ballot box.

    There was a reason for that. You see, for at least a decade, a referendum was NEVER worded that would have done just that… the “previous fee”, just like this current “fee” is actually a bundle of actions that the students found disagreeable. Why? Because it wasnt just raising a few $ a month. No, the last one you are referring to would have:

    A. Raised parking prices across the board 10-15%
    B. Implemented a use-based bus fee
    C. Remove the city shuttles
    D. No increase in number of MTS buses to counter point C

    So, why did students reject that referendum? I can tell you it wasnt because of raising fees… it was a trifecta of TPS combining everything in 1 go, with absolutely no idea how any of it would impact the transportation. It was a cash crab and a terrible way to simply cut services. Thats why students didnt like the fee then.

    The new referendum is also pretty bad, but I can see the guardian isnt going to provide a balanced perspective anytime soon with at least 3 ariticles to date all saying yes.

    Reply
    • A

      anonMay 22, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      send the editors a letter or something then, dont just comment here

      Reply