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Party Buses Causing Headaches on Campus

CAMPUSTOWN-- When done properly, Champaign police say that party buses can be safe, efficient, and fun ways to get students to where the action is. But they say that's rarely been the case.

Lt. Jim Clark says, "We've been having problems with several buses from Illinois State University coming to Champaign. They come 3 or 4 days a week. They appear to be overcrowded buses, they're bringing from 1 to 7 buses at any given time, so we decided we need to address that problem."

Some U of I students say they've used similar buses before, and see them as a practical solution to a common problem. Andre Bassiri says, "It's a lot safer than having a fraternity drive all the members there because nobody's going to be sober during the event. Of course a lot of the events are far away like a barn dance, maybe a formal. So to have 20 cars go would be unsafe."

But one Bloomington bus that was pulled over last week in Champaign had dozens of underage drinkers onboard, and the rear emergency door was found to be bolted shut. According to Lt. Clark, "They're drinking on the buses, showing up in Champaign drunk. The buses didn't appear to be the safest buses in the world so we decided we needed to address this and the goal was to keep these students safe that were coming over here."

Students however, were trying to be more understanding. Bassiri says, "Of course it's going to be too tough for the bus, they've got a lot to focus on. There's what, 30 to 40 people on a bus at any given time? It's probably the responsibility of the people hiring the bus, they should be the ones held liable, not the bus themselves."

Adam Rife reporting