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Carson Loop Bus may draw additional fees

Carnegie Mellon’s Carson Loop Bus allows students to explore various Pittsburgh neighborhoods. The bus runs Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. and stops at 11 locations throughout the city. Initially free, the bus may cost all students a fee for its use. (credit: Travis Wolfe/Photo Staff) Carnegie Mellon’s Carson Loop Bus allows students to explore various Pittsburgh neighborhoods. The bus runs Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. and stops at 11 locations throughout the city. Initially free, the bus may cost all students a fee for its use. (credit: Travis Wolfe/Photo Staff)

The Carson Loop Bus is one of Carnegie Mellon’s newest services. It was initiated by former student body president and vice president Jared Itkowitz and Pooja Godbole and began running as a trial service during the spring semester of last year. According to the Student Government website, the bus is “a weekend, nighttime loop bus for undergraduate and graduate students that encourages students to explore other Pittsburgh neighborhoods.” Stopping at 11 locations, the Loop Bus provides opportunities to travel to a variety of neighborhoods that offer bars, shopping, and entertainment throughout Pittsburgh.

The Loop Bus operates Friday and Saturday nights, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., running between the University Center turnaround and a variety of local Pittsburgh locations along Forbes and Fifth Avenues and into the South Side. It runs hourly from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and half-hourly from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., leaving from the University Center.

Currently, the Loop Bus is free for all students with an ID and even allows students to bring a non-student guest along. However, the administration is considering charging students an extra fee for access to the bus. The fee will be discussed at the next Student Senate meeting on Thursday at 5 p.m. in Breed Hall, Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall 103.

The bus was originally modeled off Duquesne University’s SGA Loop and Port Authority’s former UV Loop.

Duquesne University’s Loop bus is free of charge. According to Duquesne’s student government website, “Fr. Hogan, the Executive Vice President for Student Life and Student Government jointly fund the loop bus as a service for students. This joint effort is so students can go and come back from different city locations safely.”

The Port Authority’s UV Loop was to be “a hip new urban bus loop that will link many of Pittsburgh’s diverse neighborhoods on Friday and Saturday nights.” Starting in 2002, the bus traveled every weekend from Downtown to the South Side, through Oakland and the East End, then back through Lawrenceville and the Strip District until returning downtown. The route was chosen, the Port Authority explained, to join “many of Pittsburgh’s great neighborhoods and entertainment highlights including theatres, restaurants, and other performance and cultural destinations.” The bus ceased operation soon after it began based on low ridership and broader financial issues.

“I would be abnormally astounded if there would be a charge for the Loop Bus. It is a breach of my trust in the institution. This is an exercise in exhortation and the fee is ridiculous,” said Harrison Apple, a first-year art student.

Student Government plans to have a final decision about the fees in the coming weeks.