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University May Cut Free Student Transit

Kim Powell | Staff Writer | 03/23/2011 

Bemidji State University may cut ties with Paul Bunyan Transit in the coming months in order to save money.

“Right now, we pay about $38,000 per year for this service,” said Bill Maki, Vice President of Finance and Administration, “and the total number of students using it is not high relative to that cost.”

Two months ago, President Hanson released his Recalibration plan to lift BSU and NTC out of a $5 million deficit caused by the $6 billion state debt. In order to get out of the debt, Hanson is cutting programs, majors, faculty, and the Cedar Apartments. Paul Bunyan Transit is still under a lot of discussion at this point, though.

“Realizing that this service is extremely important to those who do use it,” said Maki, “we need to look to try to maintain that service at a lower cost.”
In the fall of 2010, new solar-paneled bus stops were built so student bus riders didn’t have to wait for the bus unsheltered.

“I expect we will still be able to utilize the bus stops with a new arrangement,” said Maki.

Maki is hopeful that something can be worked out between BSU/NTC and Paul Bunyan Transit. A meeting regarding the situation is being planned between Maki, BSU Student Association representatives, BSU/NTC administrative representatives, and Paul Bunyan Transit, according to Maki. The meeting is hoped to be held within the next month.