Masters will not subsidize Game buses

The Council of Masters will not offer college-subsidized transportation to next month’s Harvard-Yale Game, although it has done so in past years. Instead, a student-run organization will offer bus service for Yalies to and from Cambridge.

The new organization — called ASA Transit — will provide $30 one-way tickets to Cambridge the evening of Nov. 17 and the morning of Nov. 18, as well as return tickets to New Haven on the afternoon of the 18th, co-founder and student manager Louis Gresham ’08 said. Some students said they wish the Council of Masters would offer cheaper transportation again this year, but several masters said the service they offered in years past was inefficient and wasteful.

Gresham said the new service — which will operate under the auspices of the Associated Student Agencies — will be a cheaper and more convenient alternative to a private bus or train to Cambridge.

“The only rival option we found is Greyhound,” he said. “They’re about the same price, but it takes four hours to get there because they stop all over the state to pick up people.”

An Amtrak train ticket from New Haven to Boston on the evening of the 17th costs $55 to $85, and a return ticket the afternoon of the 18th costs $42 to $55.

ASA Transit’s rides are scheduled to take two to three hours, according to the organization’s Web site. Co-founder and fellow student manager Francisco Liquido ’08 said he expects at least as many students to take advantage of the service as rode the Council of Masters-subsidized buses two years ago.

“We bring students directly from Yale to the Game,” he said. “The Yale football team is up for the Ivy title this year, which should make The Game even more appealing to students.”

Tickets will go on sale Nov. 14 online and at the ASA office, Liquido said. Last year, Gresham and Liquido founded the Campus Bus shuttle service, which offered students transportation to and from popular airports during Spring Break. Campus Bus contracted from a number of vehicle providers leading to logistical difficulties last spring, but ASA Transit will use only Peter Pan Bus Lines.

Yale College Council Secretary Zach Marks ’09 said ASA Transit will fill an important void created by the Council of Masters’ decision not to subsidize buses, but the price of a round-trip ticket is still high compared to previous years.

“It’s a hassle that students have to pay $60, so what we’d love to see is if the Council of Masters would at least pitch in and help subsidize this service,” he said.

But Davenport College Master Richard Schottenfeld said the Council decided not to subsidize bus transportation to Harvard this year because they lost money in previous years and because coordinating the different bus trips was logistically difficult.

“Organizing this in years past was an administrative nightmare,” he said. “And the experience was that a lot of the buses went up empty and came back empty, so there was an enormous amount of waste to be sending buses up and back without people in them.”

Council of Masters Chair Judith Krauss said that in previous years many students bought tickets because they only cost $5 and then never attended the game. She said the Council of Masters had been spending $40,000 to $50,000 on the buses, which is money that could be better spent on improving life in the residential colleges.

“If the Council steps in and subsidizes the tickets, we’ll be right back where we started — spending a disproportionate amount of residential college money intended for other purposes,” Krauss said in an e-mail.

The Council of Masters decision comes as Harvard finalizes plans for tailgating at The Game this year.

Campus Life Fellow John Drake said Harvard reached an agreement with the city of Boston on Friday will allow them to set up a tailgate at Ohiri Field for The Game. The tailgate will be shut down at halftime, Drake said, and students who are visibly intoxicated will not be allowed to enter the tailgate area. Beverage Authorization Teams, or BATs, will ensure that no one under 21 is served alcohol, and no one entering the tailgate area will be able to bring in liquids of any kind, he said.

“We haven’t officially obtained the permit … but we have permission to go forward with the event,” Drake said.

Drake said the parties that several Harvard House Committees were organizing for the Thursday night before The Game have been cancelled because house masters expressed concern about having parties on campus on three consecutive nights. The parties scheduled for Friday night will still be held, he said.

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