Thanks to subsidies from the Students’ Initiative and several local organizations, students will be able to drink and return safely home on Wednesday nights free of charge.
Bill’s Bus, which offers $9 round-trip bus service to downtown Santa Barbara on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, will now offer free rides from Embarcadero Hall in Isla Vista to Zodo’s Bowling & Beyond on Calle Real, as well as to the Old Town Tavern, located on Orange Avenue near Hollister Road.
The bus program will cover nine weeks of operation, ending the second week of June before finals.
A.S. Finance Board approved the funding after receiving a request from the A.S. Legislative Council. Zodo’s and the Old Town Tavern are also pitching in some funds, as is the UCSB I.V. Community Relations Committee. Bill’s Bus owner and founder Bill Singer is also contributing to the program by offering a favorable deal on the bus rides, Leg Council Off-Campus Representative Shahan Ahmed, a fourth-year business economics major, said.
Wednesday nights are “College Night” at Zodo’s, which offers bowlers a happy hour, DJ and reduced bowling rates. Old Town Tavern has karaoke, along with a fully stocked bar.
A.S. President Jared Goldschen said the bus service is not limited to partiers, and will make venturing off campus on a weeknight also easier for people who decide not to drink.
Ahmed said he proposed the plan last quarter in hopes of cutting down the prevalence of driving-under-the-influence incidents in the community.
According to Goldschen, students going out to Goleta on Wednesday nights often opt out of calling and paying for a taxicab. They then drive home, putting themselves and other motorists at great risk.
“It’s expensive for a cab and unsafe for drivers who have made the decision to drink,” Goldschen said. “[Bill’s Bus is] a way to avoid both situations.”
At its March 19 meeting, A. S. Finance Board approved a contribution of $3,500 out of a requested $4,600 for the program. Goldschen said Leg Council had asked for enough money to sustain the program for nine weeks.
Ahmed said he secured the remaining $1,100 from the UCSB Isla Vista Community Relations Committee, as he was unsure whether Zodo’s and Old Town Tavern would be interested.
He said, however, the two businesses both contributed $900 to the program. Now that the program had surplus funding, the excess money will be returned to Finance Board.
“I made sure to get enough money to get the exact expense of running the service without having the businesses on board,” Ahmed said. “The money they gave us will go back to Finance Board as unused funds.”
Ahmed said organizers are considering adding the Denny’s on Calle Real to the route.