SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA)– For many college students, weekends are a great time to unwind and forget about the stresses of the classroom.
In case students go too far, one group is trying to make sure they get home safe. Students at the University of Illinois Springfield are bringing back a shuttle to not only make sure students have access to fun but also make sure they get home safely.
UIS Student Government president Ben Paoletti said he saw a need for students wanting to hang out off campus.
“It’s amazing for students because there’s a lot going on downtown but students have to get there in a way that is safe,” said Paoletti. “We saw that a lot of students were using Uber or Lyft or they would be considering drinking and driving so we wanted to have that option for students to consider neither of those and still be able to get downtown and enjoy the nightlife.”
UIS a little more than six miles or 15 minutes away from downtown Springfield. Students said that makes it a little difficult for them to break away.
“Other schools in the U of I system, they have something similar to this but they have opportunities for nightlife on their own campus. To have that in our town at least and have a chance to at least be given transportation to downtown to experience it, I think that’s what myself and a lot of students on campus desire,” said sophomore Austin Verthein.
That desire is now fulfilled. Paoletti is partnering with Downtown Springfield Incorporated and Gracious Cab to bring back a shuttle to pick up students and drop them off, free of charge.
“We are hoping to go downtown as much as we can. We are happy that the school made a change is able to transport us downtown and in a safe manner and at a cheap cost so we are not having to pay for expensive Ubers,” said UIS sophomore Flaherty.
Businesses like The Alamo in Springfield are excited to welcome the students with open arms. “Come down and have a good time. That’s all we are trying to do down here. Have some DJs, have a good time, make sure everybody is safe and nothing bad happens,” said Jonathan Clark, The Alamo bar manager.
The shuttle successfully dropped off their first load of 18 students this past Saturday. It runs from 11 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. every thirty minutes. The shuttle last ran two years ago.