The Jule provides free rides on any route throughout the day and night to students at Loras College, Clarke University, and the University of Dubuque.
Tim O’Brien, Loras College student, says, “Students really take advantage of this service. I use it both on the nights and weekends and it’s nice to know that if my car ever breaks down I can depend on the Jule.”
Since the beginning of this college program in 2012, the service has continued to increase in usage.
Jule Director, Candace Eudaley, states, “It started around 6,000 rides the first year, the second year was around 22,000, and this year we are close to 30,000 just with the partnership with the colleges so it’s pretty huge.”
For Loras students the most popular route is the Nightrider with 87% of the college’s ride being at night. This resource was primarily funded through grants leaving the remaining 20% to be paid for by the colleges. Grant funding runs out at the end of this school year leaving the question: who will fit the bill?
Eudaley believes the city will be funding the program for one year to give the colleges time to determine if the service is valuable enough to support these costs.
One proposed plan for the 2016-2017 school year is to pass the cost on to the students in the form of a 25-dollar fee.
Current Loras student, C.J. Lampe seems open to this idea, “If you think about it a fee is going to be less than if you were going to get a drinking ticket or get into trouble walking wherever you are going. It’s going to be less to just pay the fee and ride the bus.”
Art Sunleaf, Student Life Director for Loras College states, “It would be very easy for me to say sure let’s just tack on that fee, but that’s not what we want to do as an institution because we know that the cost of education and fees and the amenities are expensive as well.”
Surveys and speakers will take place this upcoming school year in order to answer this important question.