August 13, 2004

Saluki Express ridership sets record

by Bonnie Marx

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Following a year with a record number of passengers, the Saluki Express bus service at Southern Illinois University Carbondale projects that next February the three millionth rider will use the service.

Jeffrey M. Duke, assistant director of the SIUC Student Center, said the Saluki Express, a fixture on campus and in Carbondale since fall 1995, provided service to 326,403 passengers last year -- an increase of 8.7 percent over the previous year.

This year Saluki Express is adding a new route, one that travels to Murphysboro four times every weekday, and is revising its late night route to run every 30 minutes instead of hourly. The late night route begins at 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and finishes at the Student Center.

The Saluki Express also operates a free shuttle service from the Arena parking lots to points around campus every 20 minutes.

"It's been well received by students," Duke said. "Some routes have very high ridership. There are 35-plus passengers on some of the routes."

Student fees, fare revenues and bus pass sales fund the bus service. Students ride for free with a valid ID.

A complete schedule of routes and stops is linked from the Student Center's home page,

Meeting or exceeding the expectations of students is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence ThroughCommitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it observes its 150th anniversary in 2019.