Saint Mary’s students react to Midnight Express cancellation

first_imgWhen Saint Mary’s senior Marta Antonetti learned the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s student governments jointly moved to cancel the South Bend Transpo Midnight Express route, she created and distributed a Google Forms petition for students to sign if they were “angered by the decision.”Since then, about 40 students have signed the petition asking the Saint Mary’s administration to either reinstate the program or provide a new Saturday service as soon as possible, Antonetti said.“Recently the collective Student Administration of ND/SMC (of course [Holy Cross] was excluded from the conversation, we wouldn’t actually want to create [an] environment where we interact with one another) decided to cease the Midnight Express/Saturday service,” Antonetti said in the Google Form. “This decision harms ROTC students, band students, lower-income students, students with disabilities, student athletes, members of ND clubs, student workers and the ND/SMC/HCC community. As far as we know, this decision was made without consulting the student body … BAVO or GreenDot or anyone who might have a legitimate reason to keep the bus going.”Since starting the petition, Antonetti met with vice president for student affairs Karen Johnson to discuss the decision-making process that resulted in the cancellation and discuss potential solutions for the future. She said she feels frustrated that the administrations have yet to effectively replace the Midnight Express.“It’s been two months and there’s been no real solution,” Antonetti said. “A solution has to be put forward, an actual one that makes sense.”This summer, the student governments of Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame decided to cancel the South Bend Transpo Midnight Express route after Transpo announced a 50% price hike in operating costs. Due to this cancellation and other scheduling changes, the final South Bend Transpo bus leaving the Grotto towards Saint Mary’s Regina Hall stop will leave at 9:13 p.m. Fridays, and no Saturday services will be provided at all.In a campus-wide email Aug. 27, Johnson said Blinkie, the Saint Mary’s escort van service, will serve as alternative transportation.“[Blinkie] WILL continue to run from dark to 2 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and from dark to 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday,” Johnson said in the email. “Blinkie tries to get to Notre Dame at least once per hour to pick up students at the Grotto. Additionally, Blinkie will start service at noon on Saturday and Sunday starting Monday, October 28, 2019 through Monday, March 23, 2020.”Compared to the regular Midnight Express route, Blinkie is not always a reliable resource, as it doesn’t always maintain a strict schedule and can sometimes fill up quickly, Saint Mary’s sophomore Lisie Fahrenbach said.“Sometimes it’s just really hard to track down Blinkie and figure out when it’s going to come, and then it’ll pass you like five times and you can’t get in it yet,” Fahrenbach said. “I think that could end up being an issue for a lot of people, especially safety-wise, because it’s not going to stop people from going places. It’s just going to make it potentially dangerous for people to go places … when it’s dark out, instead of them having a safe option to get back and forth to areas around Notre Dame.”Blinkie does not serve the same purpose the Transpo Midnight Express and separate routes filled, sophomore Shannon Valley said.“The problem with trying to rely on Blinkie is that getting you over to other places is not its priority,” Valley said. “[Blinkie’s] priority is getting people from the parking lot to their dorms.”While some Saint Mary’s students might resort to using Uber, Lyft or other ride-sharing apps, Valley said others relied on the free bus services.“Girls can’t afford to Uber anytime they want to go somewhere,” Valley said. “This is going to be a really hard thing for them. … If they depend on the buses for things, they’re not going to be able to go anywhere.”Junior Bridget Puetz said she does not think the cancellation will largely affect upperclassmen, but she expressed concerns for first-year students still trying to maneuver making their way across the street to Notre Dame.“I think it’s sad for our underclassmen,” Puetz said. “They’re still trying to figure out their friends, so if [they needed to go home alone], at least they had the bus. If I were a freshman and they took [the Midnight Express] away, I think that I would be really, really affected. I mean, I took it a lot freshman year. It was a really good backup just to know that it was there and to know that it was reliable.”Junior Hunter Kehoe said she also feared for the safety of students walking down Saint Mary’s Road, specifically first-years who are unfamiliar with campus.“I don’t think the administration realizes that girls are going over to Notre Dame very late at night and a lot of them are coming back intoxicated, may it be legal or not,” Kehoe said. “And it is just beyond me that they’re going to allow girls that just got here [and] don’t know their way around … to walk down a road that has one emergency service call on it [and] very, very dim lights.”Leaving students to walk across State Route 933 at night poses a grave danger, Kehoe said.“It scares my mom, because she’s like, ‘I don’t think they’re going to do anything about it until something horrible happens and they’re finally going to wake up about it,’” Kehoe said. “You come here and you expect to have like guardians, because your parents aren’t here. It’s so sad that I have to sit here and say that it’s going to take a horrible accident for [the administrations] to realize that this is the worst decision they could have made.”Kehoe said she thinks relying on ride-sharing apps provides more uncertainty for those seeking a way back to campus and hopes Saint Mary’s Campus Safety will fill the hole left by the cancelled Friday and Saturday services.“Karen Johnson said that the other alternative means of transportation was that girls would have to find Uber rides home,” Kehoe said. “All across the country, there have been reported accidents of young women in Ubers being kidnapped, being killed, getting in the wrong cars that aren’t their Ubers. If you’re going to cancel [the bus services], then every single time I call Security, they better come pick me up … whatever the case is.”Johnson did not immediately respond when asked for comment.Senior Olivia Allen, Saint Mary’s student government association vice president, said Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross student government executives met Friday to discuss future plans going forward in the wake of the cancellation.“During our meeting on Friday, we discussed different transportation options for the tri-campus community, looking into what other colleges have done and what each SGA can make work financially,” Allen said in an email. “We will be releasing a statement as a tri-campus SGA, so at this time I don’t have a definitive answer as to what the future will hold. We are putting a lot of work into finding a solution and to keep the students safe, but this requires an extensive amount of meetings with SGA advisors across the three schools as well as higher college administration.”Allen said she wanted to remind frustrated students the Midnight Express route was initiated and funded by Notre Dame student government, and Saint Mary’s only became involved in its cancellation late in the decision-making process.“For now, I think it is important to note that Saint Mary’s SGA never paid for the Midnight Express, it has always been a Notre Dame-funded program, as we were only consulted on the matter a few days before the decision was made,” she said.Students in need of a ride between the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s campuses are highly encouraged to use Blinkie and call Campus Safety, Allen said.“The Saint Mary’s security department really cares about the well-being of the students and is doing their best to help us without the Midnight Express in place,” she said.last_img read more

Curing the Chiasso syndrome

first_imgCOMMUNITY of European Railways’ Chairman Heinz Dürr presented plans on April 14 to Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock for putting into practice the concept of Freight Freeways. The proposals were discussed at a high-level Commission meeting in Brussels on April 17 at which launch of a pilot Freeway was likely to be given the go-ahead. It is not before time. For many years we have advocated dedicated management of international freight routes to give Europe’s railways the ability to stem the haemorrhage of cross-border freight to road hauliers. This may be about to happen.The CER’s report European Rail Freeways: Proposal to the European Commission assumes that separation of infrastructure and operations will proceed to the point where infrastructure managers will be able to offer licensed railway operators paths on a spot basis or over longer periods as part of a market-driven policy. The aim will be to provide ’seamless’ services from ’one-stop shops’ that offer ’consolidated infrastructure tariffs’ – initially the summation of fees for infrastructure use in each country but ultimately packages at attractive prices. The ability to respond flexibly and within hours to customers’ requests for price quotations will be vital to success.Taking two routes between Italy and Benelux countries (one via France, the other through Switzerland and Germany) as an example, the report identifies paths where simple measures can be implemented to cut journey times. Nearly 6h spent at frontiers in one case can be cut to just 1h 15min. Surprisingly, the report finds that it is not so much wagon inspection and administrative delays associated with customs that causes frontier delays, but mismatches between national timetables, although waiting for crews and locomotives, capacity constraints and the low priority given to freight trains also contribute.The first Freeway could be set up on an experimental basis this year – the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy have agreed voluntarily to test the concept. Perhaps it is wishful thinking for the moment, but the rows of wagons waiting at border yards such as Chiasso could become a thing of the past.Through working of locomotives and crews remains another worthwhile objective, and from September Dutch locos and drivers will be able to cross the Belgian border and continue to Antwerpen, so ending the need for four locos and four crew changes on the recently-launched NDX Shuttle between Rotterdam and Antwerpen.The European Shippers’ Council has meanwhile issued its own action plan in response to the European Commission’s White Paper, and suggests that ’the next few years represent a window of opportunity to develop pan-European rail freight that may not be available in the future.’ It calls for ’dismantling of the complex network of co-operative agreements that exists between European railway companies’ which ’potentially threaten the future development of an efficient and competitive rail market’. The ESC also demands better service levels with a named contact for business enquiries and problem solving, door-to-door market pricing, ring-fencing of assets such as locomotives and drivers used for international services and a realistic timetable for full deregulation of European rail freight. The Freeway concept is clearly a welcome step forward – we trust it is not too late. English Welsh & Scottish Railway had informal discussions with NDX Intermodal in March to explore the opportunities for increasing rail traffic between Britain and Germany, Britain’s largest trading partner.As part of the deal that EWS has made with the British government for taking over Railfreight Distribution, the British Railways Board will pay to Eurotunnel the whole of the British share of the Minimum Usage Charge attributable to freight until 2006, not as stated in RG 4.97 p214. olast_img read more

Update on the latest in sports:

first_imgThe former U.S. Olympian is asymptomatic but says she tested positive for the virus on Saturday. The rest of Mayer’s camp has tested negative, including her longtime coach. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditFOOTBALL-OBIT-RILEYFormer Bengals star Ken Riley dead at 72ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Ken Riley was a ball-hawk defensive back in the NFL before serving as a head coach and athletic director at his alma mater, Florida A&M. Matches will be streamed live with organizers saying every sight and sound will be captured. VIRUS OUTBREAK-MAYERBoxer Mayer tests positive for COVID-19, out of return boutUNDATED (AP) — Junior lightweight contender Mikaela Mayer has tested positive for COVID-19 and has been pulled from the co-main event of Las Vegas’ first major boxing card since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.Mayer announced her positive test on social media two days before her scheduled bout against Helen Joseph in the Top Rank show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Update on the latest in sports: TENNIS-NEW TOURNAMENTNew tennis tournament in France aiming for younger audiencePARIS (AP) — With discussions ongoing over whether the U.S. Open or the French Open can even take place later this year, a new digitally friendly tennis tournament starts Saturday in southern France with four Top 10-ranked players involved.Co-founder Patrick Mouratoglou hopes the Ultimate Tennis Showdown can change the way tennis is viewed by allowing a younger audience to access the raw feelings of players.The UTS features ATP Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas and U.S. Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini. There will be 10 players with matches every weekend for five weeks in a round robin format. The school has announced that Riley died early Sunday morning at 72. No cause of death was given.Riley was a four-year starting quarterback at Florida A&M and a Rhodes Scholar candidate before he was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 1969 NFL/AFL draft. Moved to cornerback by head coach Paul Brown, Riley had 65 career interceptions for 596 yards and five touchdowns in a 15-year career with the Bengals. He also recovered 18 fumbles, and his interception total ranks fifth in NFL history.Although named a First Team All-Pro three times and a second teamer on two other occasions, Riley still hasn’t been elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite his impressive statistics. He landed on the All-Pro First Team in 1983, his final season.Riley coached the Rattlers from 1986-93, going 48-39-2 with two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles. He took A&M to the second-ever Heritage Bowl, losing to Grambling State in 1992.NFL-OBIT-ZOOK Ex-Falcons DE Zook diesATLANTA (AP) — Former NFL defensive end John Zook has died in his native Kansas after a long battle with cancer.Zook originally was taken by the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth round in 1969 but was subsequently traded to the Atlanta Falcons. He teamed with Hall of Famer Claude Humphrey to give the Falcons a dynamic combination at defensive end from 1969-75. Zook never missed a game during his tenure with the Falcons, starting 97 of 98 contests. He made his only Pro Bowl appearance in 1973, joining Humphrey in the all-star game.Zook played his last four seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals before retiring after the 1969 campaign.His brother, Dean Zook, confirmed the death to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Associated Press June 7, 2020last_img read more