Funding Is Uncertain After Daytime Shuttle Donor Ceases Support

The Daytime Boston Shuttle, which runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays during the school year, may not have sufficient funding for next school year, according to Undergraduate Association President Martin F. Holmes '08. One of the two major sources for funding — a private donor — will no longer be available to cover the costs of running the shuttles throughout the school year, Holmes said.

The other major source of funding is Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict who contributed roughly $40,000 over the past academic year, according to Holmes. Benedict was the only administrative supporter in the past when the Daytime Boston Shuttle ran only during the winter, Holmes said. The private donor covers roughly half the costs, according to Holmes, and has made it possible for the shuttles to run throughout the school year.

Without the private donor, Benedict has not yet committed to continue funding the shuttles for the next school year. "We have not resolved the revenue sources for the shuttle," Benedict said in an e-mail. "That does not mean there will be no shuttle, rather that we are trying to figure out how to pay for it."

According to Holmes, the Office of Parking and Transportation has made an effort to secure Institute funds for the Daytime Boston Shuttle. Currently, MIT funds all other transportation systems including the Tech Shuttle, Northwest Shuttle, and SafeRide.

Holmes said he has been collaborating with Lawrence R. Brutti, the director of OPT, to find alternative financial means.

"Brutti made a budget proposal asking for Institute funds to support the Daytime Boston Shuttle, but the proposal was rejected for some reason," Holmes said.

The UA has drafted a bill, which passed unanimously at last night's Senate meeting, supporting full Institute funding of the Daytime Boston Shuttle. The bill was signed by 35 student leaders from numerous Fraternity, Sorority, and Independent Living Groups, Interfraternity Council, and Panhellenic Association.

According to Holmes, the UA will present the bill to Benedict and Chancellor Phillip L. Clay PhD '75, requesting a re-evaluation of Brutti's original proposal for shuttle funding.

If the Institute funding is rejected a second time, Holmes said that one viable alternative is to find another private donor through the FSILG Alumni Association. "We expect that method to be much more difficult, so we're hoping for the Institute funding to come through," Holmes said.

The UA bill argues that 643 MIT students living in Boston rely on the Daytime Boston Shuttle to commute, especially in cases of inclement weather. The bill also questions the Institute's full funding of the Tech Shuttle and Northwest Shuttle through the OPT despite the proximity of these locations in Cambridge compared to the FSILG locations in Boston. Finally, the bill requests that the MIT administration gather student input before deciding on issues that impact large portions of the undergraduate student body.