Dec. 19, 1997
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University and the city of Kalamazoo's Metro Transit will launch a greatly enhanced bus service for the WMU campus beginning Monday, Jan. 5. The new service, which is being sponsored by WMU on a pilot basis, also means improved service for all Metro Transit riders.
"We're absolutely delighted to be working with Metro Transit and the city of Kalamazoo on this important new service for our students," said Robert M. Beam, vice president for business and finance at WMU.
"We're pleased we can support the initiative of the Western Student Association in launching this pilot program," Beam continued. "It's also a wonderful new opportunity for cooperation between WMU and the city of Kalamazoo." Talks between the WMU and Metro Transit began in earnest last spring.
Beam said one of the goals is to relieve parking and traffic congestion on the University's West Campus and in the neighborhoods adjacent to the campus. He credited the leadership of the WSA in bringing the new service to WMU, including WSA president Nicholas S. Ayoub and members Brian J. Owens and Corey A. Watt.
"We fully expect this pilot program to be a huge success," said William J. Schomisch, director of Metro Transit. "This represents the first major expansion of Metro Transit service in several years. We're very excited to be a part of this project."
Schomisch said that Metro Transit has purchased 10 used buses from the Urbana-Champaign, Ill., bus system, which operates a similar but larger system for the University of Illinois. He said that system served as a model for the one at WMU.
Representatives of WMU, WSA, Metro Transit and the city of Kalamazoo were to participate in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Dec. 19, in front of the Fetzer Center to symbolically inaugurate the agreement. It calls for WMU to pay the $375,000 cost of the pilot program during the winter semester.
The agreement also results in service improvements for all riders. It extends service from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday on two routes, Route 3/West Michigan and Route 16/Lovell Street. Route 16 is new, resulting from a split of Route 3.
The new service creates two new campus routes -- the Brown Route and the Gold Route -- that provide service every 10 minutes at peak periods along the University's perimeter, including a transfer point at the Schneider Hall that connects to off-campus service. Service frequency is 15 and 30 minutes at other times of the day.
The new Brown and Gold routes also include Lawson Ice Arena, the Stadium Drive Apartments and the University Medical and Health Sciences Center on East Campus. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday. Students ride free with a valid ID on any Metro Transit route.
These routes are in addition to regular Metro Transit service through the campus on Route 3 and the new Route 16. Service to the Vine Street neighborhood has been added to Route 3 and service to Fraternity Village off West Michigan Avenue has been added to Route 16. Service also is being extended to Meijer on West Main Street.
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA