‘Nightline’ completes second weekend

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The SVSU Nightline bus has completed two weekends in its four-week pilot process. According to Student Association President Cody McKay, the bus route saw increased attendance between the first to the second weekend.

“The first weekend of the bus we saw on average anywhere between 10 and 20 students riding per night,” McKay said. “On Thursday of the second week, our attendance doubled, and we hope to see that continue through the second weekend with hopes of ridership increasing during the second half of the pilot.”

McKay also added that feedback from students has been positive.

“Students that have used the bus are very excited that something like this is available to them,” McKay said. “Those who I have talked to that have yet to ride the bus are excited to check out the Nightline.”

Additionally, Sidney Childs, associate provost for student affairs, has received positive feedback as well.

“I’m hearing that it’s been a really positive experience for everybody,” he said. “I think it’s also dispelling a lot of myths about the city, which is also an important aspect of the idea. It’s an opportunity to grow and tweak it as we go along towards making this a permanent partnership. We want to make it a substantial one that everyone can benefit from.”

Third-year accounting student Sean Gilmore had a very positive experience on the bus.

“It was simple and fun to be a part of,” he said. “The driver is helpful and will wait for people if they are running late. It’s pretty much dead-on accurate with timing as well.”

The bus helps students, like Gilmore, who have limited access transportation.

“It helps me because I currently don’t have a car and I need my fix of ‘half-off-apps,’” he said. “It’s nice for me to use because I don’t have to ask for rides from my friends all the time and instead can take the bus.”

The initiative was coordinated by the SVSU Student Association, the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of External Affairs, Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services (STARS) and the Kochville Township DDA. The groups involved hope that increasing attendance will mean continuation of the bus line and an expansion.

“I’ve heard some conversation about, on Sundays, potentially having an earlier route so that if students had a place of worship they wanted to attend, they would have that opportunity,” Childs said. “Hopefully as we expand we can look at other areas and potential stops.”

The potential expansion will be reliant on the success of the pilot program so far and in the final two weekends of the process. The SVSU Nightline will return this weekend, April 6 to 8, before taking Easter Weekend off. The final weekend of the pilot program will be April 20 to 22.

The bus departs from the SVSU Student Center at the top of every hour between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. and departs from Hamilton and Court at the bottom of every hour between 9:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. The route stops at locations along Bay Road before reaching the Old Town Saginaw district prior to heading back toward campus.

“From talking with students, it sounds like they understand where the bus is going and how to use it,” McKay said. “As students use the bus more, we have been trying to educate them on things that we may not have thought about initially. For example, when you get on the bus, it is important to tell the bus driver where you are getting off so that they know where to stop along the route.”

Childs said that in addition to creating an opportunity for students, fostering a relationship with the city is an integral part of the initiative.

“It’s really about developing a partnership with the city and the institution,” he said. “We really want our students who come to the area to realize that there is a greater community outside of the campus and that there are great opportunities for community engagement.”