Bus company drops civil suits against students

Published 05/01 2013 05:58PM

Updated 05/01 2013 06:23PM

CHAMPAIGN -- A bus company is dropping charges it filed against more than 100 UI students. The business is called "Suburban Express." It has three pick-up locations around campus; at the armory, Altgeld Hall and the Illinois Street Residence Halls. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out why the civil suits were dropped.

Representatives with the bus company say students were "breaking their contracts" and cheating the system. But, now they're looking at other ways to work with customers instead.

The Ford County Circuit Clerk was flooded with complaints from Suburban Express during the past two months. 124 filings, all dated March 5 or April 22, and all stating the student involved owed the company money. After that, the clerk says a slew of students and their parents called in asking what was going on.

Court records show the company sent students letters about his or her particular issue and asked them to resolve it. That paperwork stated if the problem wasn't fixed, the company would go to court. Letters stated, "typically these fees add up to about $200 and we typically prevail in our small claims cases." But after some backlash, the company is taking a step back.

Suburban Express reps say:

    We recognized that our legal approach of trying to uphold
    our agreement with customer carries with it a negative
    perception that we do not intend. Unfortunately, there have
    been times when passengers cheated with tickets or otherwise
    caused disruptions and delays. Our terms and conditions were
    designed to address such situations. However, we are revising
    the terms and conditions of our ticket-purchase agreement, and
    we're exploring other ways of communicating and upholding its
    terms and conditions.

Company leaders went on to say they're doing their best to make sure the program is safe for all their customers. They're still continuing their service on campus.

Suburban Express is in DuPage County and UI is in Champaign County. It's specifically mentioned in the contract riders sign that cases will be filed in Ford County. Company leaders wouldn't say why.

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