The University of Maryland Department of Transportation proposed to add more services fall 2022 semester and pull the Shuttle-UM system out of debt, according to a letter of support from Residence Hall Association leadership.
The proposed budget plan would add 10 to 12 additional buses in the fall and remove parking fee increases from fiscal years 2024 to 2028, RHA President Scott Cronin and Vice President Aiden Wechsler wrote in the letter.
Despite the added services, DOTS will help the Shuttle-UM system break even in the next few years, according to the letter.
In February, DOTS proposed to implement an increase in parking permit costs. The proposed budget at the time increased the rate by $26 for residents and $51 for commuters. However, RHA voted to not support this fee increase in February.
At the beginning of this year, DOTS presented RHA with a plan to reduce costs by hiring more student Shuttle-Bus drivers, according to the letter. DOTS offered student trainees $16.50 an hour with the opportunity to increase wages to $18.50 an hour after receiving their commercial driver’s license.
DOTS has hired and trained 135 students as bus drivers so far and expects more people to sign up, according to the letter. However, full-time employees who worked in DOTS for numerous years faced wage compression, a process where long-time workers find out they are getting paid the same compared to people who just started, The Diamondback reported in February.
Cronin and Wechsler wrote RHA and other leaders continued to have conversations with DOTS executive director David Allen about creating a “sustainable” budget plan to limit shuttle fees, which is one of the fastest rising student fees.
“Our goals from the beginning have been to ensure that students have access to a safe, reliable, and quality bus service while making sure that fees are not drastically increased and place an additional burden on students,” the two sophomore government and politics majors wrote in the letter.