Some University of Montana students are upset about services being cut to help fund the rebranding of the UDash bus system.
Brittani Johnson, a senior at UM, takes the East Broadway bus every day. She also took it last year and said she has seen a negative change in the service.
“I didn’t even notice the rebranding,” Johnson said. “But the stuff I do notice is us being late because we have to wait longer.”
Topher Williams, chairman for the Associated Students for UM Transportation, said ASUM spent about $9,000 on rebranding. The most expensive part was changing the logos on the buses, Williams said.
Rebranding made the system more uniform and marketable, ASUM president Asa Hohman said.
“Our bike program is now called UBike, the bus program is called UDash and we have UWalk,” Hohman said.
ASUM also cut services for the East Broadway route they said were unneeded, saving money.
The East Broadway route previously ran every 10 minutes and went all the way around campus. Now the bus runs every 15 minutes and only stops outside the Music Building.
“We were running a service that wasn’t being utilized,” Hohman said. “And so we were basically just spending money with no reward.”
Students have complained about the lack of stops on the East Broadway route, but ASUM hasn’t received any other complaints about the service.
“Some students would rather take that bus all the way around campus,” Williams said. “And frankly I understand that, especially when it’s cold out.”
ASUM also cut some of the services to compromise with residents of the University District who are unhappy with the noise from buses.
The demand for transit services has decreased in past years as more people bike to campus. ASUM is trying to account for the increase and adjust their bike services accordingly, Williams said.
Some of the changes in the bike program focus on expanding the bicycle infrastructure on campus. They are thinking about creating covered bicycle parking and a hub, similar to the one downtown, that provides basic repair tools.
“Just yesterday we put snow tires on five of our yellow bikes,” Williams said.
If the snow tires are successful, ASUM will consider putting them on more of the bikes to help people bike during the winter.
ASUM is creating services that will help the greatest number of students and be the most beneficial for the community, Williams said.