September 28th, 2010 | City

Downtown violence may close curtains on Qpac bus

The continued response to the violence erupting downtown this month could spell the end of one of New Haven’s storied institutions: the QPac bus.

In a Tuesday press conference Mayor John DeStefano proposed several long-term measures in hopes of curbing rowdy behaviors in downtown. One of those measures is talking with local universities that operate shuttles to the downtown area. Though no definitive action has yet been proposed, DeStefano said, he plans to begin talks with local universities to discourage unhealthy drinking habits.

“Frankly, they’ve stepped away from any responsibility for policing this behavior,” DeStefano said.

DeStefano acknowledged the shuttle’s value in reducing drunk driving, but in recent years, he said, they’ve become a license for students to get “fall-down drunk.”

The goal isn’t necessarily to get rid of the buses, which on peak weekend nights bring nearly 3,000 mostly-underage undergraduates to downtown, he said, but instead to work with universities to change undergraduate behavior. DeStefano said he expects the universities to be fully cooperative in these conversations, just as they have been in the past.

“The problem is not that they’re on a bus; the problem is the behavior,” DeStefano said.

Read more in tomorrow’s News.