Pullman Transit late night service cuts worries some WSU students about their safety

Pullman Transit late night service cuts worries some WSU students about their safety »Play Video
Pullman Transit Manager explained the drop of ridership to the city council.
PULLMAN, WA - Pullman Transit has been serving its community for 35-years, but over the last few years, ridership has dropped significantly and now the bus schedule is being cut back.

Reporter Rachel Dubrovin explains why this has some Washington State University students concerned about safety.

Pullman's late-night bus service that runs until 3:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays isn't as popular as it used to be.

Pullman Transit Manager Rod Thornton explained this to the city council on Tuesday night.

"We're down to about 47 passengers a night on Friday night, and 37 passengers on Saturday night, which is roughly seven passengers per hour," said Thornton.

Thornton said the transit system is largely dependent on funding from Washington State University. He said Pullman Transit asked for a 10.5% increase in funding to continue its regular services for the upcoming school year, but the University only had room in its budget for a 7.3% increase.

"They felt that the amount of expense for providing that service was far more than it was being used," said Thornton.

Even though the university will pay over $123,000 more for bus services next year, Thornton said Pullman Transit can't afford to continue running its late night routes. The latest pickup time will be 11:30 p.m.

"We'll be able to shut down at midnight," said Thornton.

Even though the late night service isn't the most popular… Some students are still concerned about losing it. They said it's a matter of safety.

"The midnight routes may be under utilized, but they are utilized," said WSU Graduate Student Gabriel Dowell. "And lives have been saved, and rape, robberies and beatings have not happened because of the midnight routes."

Despite this student's testimony, the city council approved the cuts.

"I feel like it's just a risky cut to do, and I'd rather pay a few more dollars in transportation than have students walk home, or myself, walk home by myself," said WSU Student Kalinde Kindle.

Students we spoke with acknowledge that a cab is always an option. but they said it'll cost them.

"It cost me a lot of money," said WSU Student Amanda Beltran. "It cost me like fifteen, twenty dollars to get to a concert and back, and that's more than I pay for the concert."

In addition to cutting the late-night service during the school year, Pullman Transit will also cut back on its summer service.
Head to the Pullman Transit website for schedule details.