Private University students ride SAM for free

Just for clarification, Augustana is paying $1000 up front for the service;

The college has agreed to spend up to $1,000 this semester, which equates to 1,000 individual bus rides.

The irony is that our mayor has pushed for higher rates on paratransit and fixed routes. These higher rates affect the working poor mostly. Yet the city decides to team up with Mike’s best buddy, Rob Oliver, to give free rides to private university students. Why not include the University Center and SE Tech?

First we give Augustana a cut rate on using the Arena for basketball and now we are giving the students free rides. Even with the $1000 buy in, taxpayers will still be subsidizing these rides.

I wonder if the bus stop in front of Augie will be next to the Huether Tennis Courts?


#1 Karma on 09.10.14 at 10:48 am

USF, Kilian, etc. Do they all get this deal?

#2 l3wis on 09.10.14 at 11:03 am

I would agree, why not invite all the higher learning centers to be involved, especially the public universities and tech schools? Didn’t it occur to Sam Trailbar from the city to ask them first to be involved? Nope, we go running to MMM’s best friend, Rob Oliver, president of a PRIVATE school.

#3 matilda on 09.10.14 at 11:37 am

Yeaaa, like an Augie student would ever be caught dead riding a city bus

#4 Dan Daily on 09.10.14 at 1:36 pm

To be expected from a corrupt discriminatory wealthy class owned administration. I’m used to it. Apparently, there’s no way to provoke change without a federal class action lawsuit, the ACLU, & a state supreme court administered charter replacement.

#5 Taxpayer on 09.10.14 at 1:59 pm

Per today’s AL:

Free Rides For Augustana Students

College faculty and staff also can take advantage of the program.

The college has agreed to spend up to $1,000 this semester, which equates to 1,000 individual bus rides.

**Actually, since most trips require a transfer $1,000 would equate to 500 rides not 1,000 and that is over the course of an entire semester. So, as a taxpayer convince me that we will not be subsidizing this little venture.

Will Mr. Sam Trebilock, city transportation planner, be making a report to the Council at the end of this experiment?

All you fixed route riders who are having your fare increased by 50% and also paratransit riders who are having their service cut need to be very vocal about this!!

#6 Oliver Klosov on 09.10.14 at 2:34 pm

So if Augustana is paying $1,000 which is equal to 1,000 cash fares, how is it that the taxpayer is subsidizing these rides?

#7 JeniW on 09.10.14 at 2:40 pm

Wouldn’t it be great if some organization would follow the example of Augustana College to pay the bus/ParaTransit rides up to $1,000.00 worth for individuals with disabilities?

Does not matter what organization, be a for-profit or non-profit organization. Just think what a great marketing technique that would be for the paying organization (that is, free publicity.)

It would be a win-win for the riders, and for the organization.

#8 Poly43 on 09.10.14 at 3:02 pm

Augie tuition is $28,200 an academic year. On campus room and board is an additional $800 a month. Books are $1,000 a year. “Free” rides for Augie students on SAM does not even come close to registering on the needs for these kids.

On the other hand, the 50% fare increase for the 80% who do actually need the bus services will serve as a deal breaker. These 80% users come from household incomes below $30,000 a year.

Just another example of kicking the truly needy under the bus, while at the same time catering to the whims of the 1%ers.

#9 Dan Daily on 09.10.14 at 3:02 pm

JeniW has a great idea. Wells Fargo & Citibank to show they’re more sympathetic than First Premier or Sanford Hospital. Southeast Tech to show they assist the working class and don’t favor the rich brats.

#10 R.B. on 09.10.14 at 3:12 pm

Unless Augie puts up ALL the $ for ALL of the bus rides that students take, we ARE subsidizing rides for students who most likely have access to gas $ to catch rides with friends or buy a bus ticket…..and yet, we are looking to up the price for general and para transit riders?! It seems like a nice free perk for students unless they are assessed for it.
Once again there seems to be so little empathy for those who are physically challenged to get Dr. Appts, grocery stores, etc. This population is the last group for whom we should be making life more difficult!
USF and Killian probably don’t have the $ for this extra perk for their students. Augie coffers must be overflowing!

#11 Dan Daily on 09.10.14 at 3:13 pm

Me, to show my daughter (same age as Huether’s) has a real masters degree hospital administration job with the Bill Gates foundation in Guatamala. Huether’s has an unrelated bachelor’s and a 6 figures token job at Sanford. Real medical professionals went to University of Minnesota for less tuition and more credibility than Augustana.

#12 Poly43 on 09.10.14 at 3:22 pm

So if Augustana is paying $1,000 which is equal to 1,000 cash fares, how is it that the taxpayer is subsidizing these rides?

All these students need to do is flash there student ID to the driver. There is no record keeping being done to account for the number of students getting this free ride. For an entire semester this will be for the large part, a subsidized program. Something tells me bus routes and times will be accommodated to make sure Augie kids can ride the party bus getting them to and from Augie basketball games where the beers spickets will be freely flowing….unlike they were when games were played on campus.

#13 rufusx on 09.10.14 at 3:31 pm

ALL Public Transit is subsidized.

#14 Taxpayer on 09.10.14 at 4:58 pm

Oliver Klosov,

Augustana has agreed to pay Up To $1,000 for this semester for free rides for students, faculty and staff.

Once they have exceeded the 1,000 rides (@ the current $1 fare), who do you think is going to pay the balance? (Remember, the semester will not end until mid-December and they anticipate their 140 international students will make heavy use of the free rides).

#15 l3wis on 09.10.14 at 5:00 pm

I think it is a great idea, but why just students while we are raising rates for working poor and handi-cap?

Like Ruf just said, we are already subsidizing it, so why not treat everyone the same?

#16 Taxpayer on 09.10.14 at 5:11 pm

Yes, rufusx, SF public transit is subsidized by both the Feds and the City, BUT SF public transit is NOT free to paratransit and fixed route users.

However, it is no hardship for Augustana to offer the City up to $1,000 given the current cost for one year at Augustana is $36,242—-a very over-priced, over-rated institution of higher ed!

#17 Dan Daily on 09.11.14 at 9:01 am

The handicapped & low income get screwed again. The bureaucrats rein. The peasants pay the taxes, the rich benefit. It’s all because daddy doesn’t want to buy gas for the stepkid Lambo.

Ferguson MO citizens now get attention. A similar reaction is needed here.

#18 anominous on 09.11.14 at 10:15 am

Those augie kids get ferried to and from Tre in a little campus security golf cart at night. Isn’t that enough?

#19 Poly43 on 09.11.14 at 11:02 am

Does that campus security golf cart have a street license?

#20 l3wis on 09.11.14 at 1:35 pm

Poly, I have a feeling anom is being snarky

#21 Oliver Klosov on 09.11.14 at 2:16 pm

What a sad, pathetic gaggle of whiners.

Augustana College has committed to paying up to $1,000 of the institutions own money to help promote the use of mass transit in Sioux Falls and to provide their students a great transportation alternative. They are not getting anything “free” from the taxpayers. The taxpayer is not providing any additional subsidy or service to Augustana College or their students; the buses are already running.

And what if this program is successful and this success spurs additional interest from the community? What if Sanford, Avera, USF, University Center, Citi, Wells Fargo, Premier and others decide to commit capital to allow their students and employees the same access as Augustana students, faculty and staff?

$1,000/quarter, $4,000/year from seven or eight participants is $28,000 to $32,000 in additional, incremental revenue that should have nearly 100% flow to the bottom line. That is the kind of margin that will help the transit service provide services to those in need.

When you bitch about EVERYTHING, just to bitch, it really eliminates any credibility or value your opinion may have.

#22 l3wis on 09.11.14 at 2:53 pm

Oliver, first off, chill out.

Secondly, I think there has been some constructive criticism here, and some dumb crap to. But this is what the forum is for.

I for one think it is fantastic that the students are riding for free, and we should expand it. The bigger issue is that while the council is considering a rate increase and cutting back services on other riders, they turn around and give a break to students. Wouldn’t it be nice if the regular riders could buy a 6 month pass and get a significant discount for it?

As for the hospitals, I have often argued they should be picking up their ADA patients and bringing them to and from appointments instead of paratransit. Medicare or insurance could be billed for the service. I think it could streamline Para-transit to concentrate on giving rides to work and other activities.

#23 Oliver Klosov on 09.11.14 at 6:34 pm

No one is riding for free and the students aren’t getting a break. Augustana is covering the full cost of up to $1,000 to provide their students with a transportation alternative. Depending upon how you calculate the full cost that’s 500 to 1,000 single rides. That’s 5 to 10 times the number of rides estimated to have been used in the past. If they do somehow increase usage to this level that should be seen as an overwhelming success and should help the program to grow.

It’s a great idea. If it works they should expand it. This is a creative way to increase revenues to improve the service and offer more to all who use the system, in particular, to those for whom it may be financially burdensome.

#24 rufusx on 09.11.14 at 7:18 pm

Taxpayer -I would not call Augustana over-rated academically. I am an Augie Grad – FYI. When I went to grad school (PhD program) I discovered that I had ALREADY BEEN TAUGHT – ALL of the materials that comprised the first two years of that PhD program as part of my Augie undergrad education. As to being a bargain – yes compared to other high-performing private collegiate institutions – Augie is VERY MUCH a bargain. Somewhere around HALF price.

#25 rufusx on 09.11.14 at 7:24 pm

As to private institutions providing incentives to their students, employees etc. to use public transportation – that is standard fare – and has been- in almost every major urban area in the country. Example – way back in 1990, when I worked at KQED in San Francisco – part of my job was administering the ride-share and public transit employee subsidy programs for that organization. The business matched employee funds for public transit tickets and actually PURCHASED vans for employee use in ride-pooling. Why? Because it was an alternative/option to city zoning rules that would have required them to spend many more millions of $$$ on PARKING for their 380 or so employees. The city reduced the number of parking spaces they were required to provide based on the number of people that participated in these programs.

#26 scott on 09.11.14 at 7:38 pm

this is just a guess, but if the hospitals or clinics could bill insurance or Medicare for transportation to and from appointments, they would be doing it already.

#27 ArloTW on 09.12.14 at 5:13 am

Medicare does not pay for transportation to medical appointments but Medicaid does. I’m not sure about all private insurers but I’m not aware of any that cover transportation.

Those who are eligible to have their transportation covered under insurance use the private services available because they are far more reliable and provide much better service. Paratransit will dump you at the curb or at best, get you inside the door but the private services will bring you inside and help you get checked in at the desk.

Remember, you have to apply and be evaluated for paratransit services and they routinely deny eligibility to most who apply. You can appeal but if you don’t have the help of a social worker or advocate you have little chance of wading through the process.

#28 Poly43 on 09.12.14 at 6:22 am

The bigger issue is that while the council is considering a rate increase and cutting back services on other riders, they turn around and give a break to students. Wouldn’t it be nice if the regular riders could buy a 6 month pass and get a significant discount for it?

This is the issue. And these are not just any students were talking about. These are Augie students, where tuition, boarding and books are over $36,000 a year. About twice as much as a typical school and about twice as much as typical rider makes in salary in a whole year. Yet, this city, and this mayor continue to court the monied class with perks and to hell with the needy.

#29 rufusx on 09.12.14 at 11:00 am

No Poly -the bigger issue” here is that you don’t understand – there is NO BREAK being given. The school is PAYING up front for rides that “might” be used by it students. In addition – the council had NOTHING to do with that arrangement.

Finally – if you think the full cost of higher education at “most” colleges is only$18K – you are living in the ’80s.

College Data (.com) states that the average “moderate” budget for a state school is around $23k, and for a private school around $45k.

“The College Board” states that public 4-year out-of-state costs averages around $32k, and private 4-year costs average around $41k.

FYI – These are the two groups that most other reports on college education site as sources. Oh – BTW – the reason that public schools are lower is (guess what) – they are SUBSIDIZED by the TAXPAYERS. (We should stop that – right?)

#30 rufusx on 09.12.14 at 11:06 am

Oh, and as far as the students at Augie being of the “moneyed class” – the fact of the matter is that 95% of the students at Augie receive the MAXIMUM in “student aid” (Loans, grants and scholarships) – I.E., just like students at “most” other schools; they leave school with a huge debt burden. I’ve still got mine, FWIW.

#31 l3wis on 09.12.14 at 12:47 pm

You ain’t kidding there Ruf. I had two friends both attend Augie their first 4 years. One is an Attorney the other a Optometrist. Obviously law school and optometry school is more expensive, and neither could work during their last 4 years of school, but when they both told me what their college debt was, I about crapped my pants. My optometrist friend was making $2,500 a month student loan payments.

#32 l3wis on 09.12.14 at 12:55 pm

I think the irony of this whole debate is that the city cries about the extra $500,000 or so paratransit is going to cost them once the Feds bail, but then turnaround and buy very expensive buses without looking at other options and then brag about how Augie is putting $1000 towards SAM. Whoopie shit.

Like I said, offer this program to all the higher learning centers. Let people under the age of 18 ride for free. Give discounts to frequent riders that buy a 6 month or 12 month pass. There is ways we can offset some of the costs of Paratransit and get ridership up. But if we think Augie cutting a $1000 check is somehow ‘helping’ I laugh.

#33 Poly43 on 09.12.14 at 4:48 pm

Go to CNN Money Ruf.

Plug in Augie vs USD. DOUBLE…

I got no problem with subsidized programs, as long as they help those who truly need it. But around here, subsidies work the best for those who know how to milk it best. Noem a classic example.

#34 Poly43 on 09.12.14 at 4:54 pm

then brag about how Augie is putting $1000 towards SAM. Whoopie shit.

For a semester. Now those kids might use it 1000 times. They might use it 5000 times. Do ANY other of the truly needy get this kind of freebie?

#35 rufusx on 09.12.14 at 5:27 pm

Its a “step” (somebody’s got take the first one) – and a good example of making an effort to think out of the usual box – and yet a lot of folks here are critical of that????? WTF?

#36 rufusx on 09.12.14 at 5:29 pm

Also – I don’t read this as a “program” that was “offered” to Augie. Rather it is an experiment that was created BY Augie.

Maybe the other institutions can come up with their own – maybe even better.

#37 rufusx on 09.13.14 at 12:22 pm

But Poly – you said “most schools” – not just SDSU. And Again – I will point out that the ONLY reason SDSU is “cheaper” is because it is taxpayer subsidized.

Do you see the ridiculous irony in your position? You are whining and moaning about Augie being “subsidized” in bus-riding – and the logic behind your anguish somehow is due to their NOT being subsidized in their tuition costs????? And you somehow interpret that LACK of being tax-payer subsidized as an indicator of their being wealthy????

Maybe you could show some actual evidence of the degree to which Augie students are from wealthier families to state school students? You know, like data from loan apps, financial aid and so on. I will wager that a larger percentage of Augie students receive DIRECT financial aid than do state school students. I will also wager that there is NO DIFFERENCE in the average family incomes of Augie students and state school students.

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