LEX is dead. Long live Suburban Express.
That’s right: Our resident horror-story bus service is officially gone. Last Friday, Lincolnland Express was ordered to “shut down its operation” because of its failure to address the “unsatisfactory” rating given by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Oct. 23. Regardless of the company being shut down permanently, our not-so-friendly neighborhood transportation service is in trouble.
I can’t say that I wept furiously when I heard the news. And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who didn’t feel a sense of impending sorrow. Over the past four years that I’ve been at the University, LEX committed a myriad of transgressions, including false record-reporting, slow bus repairs and generally being a pain in the butt. Whenever I’ve taken LEX, I’ve been fine (sans the time it got me home 15 minutes late for dinner), but I’m in the small minority of my friends, who have endured broken-down buses and last-minute canceled trips.
My concern isn’t that LEX is gone and that people will miss its services. My concern is that now the only bus services that will get us suburban kids home is Peoria Charter — and Suburban Express.
Let’s face it: Suburban Express has been passing. They’ve been passing out anti-LEX materials and Suburban Express coupons to students waiting for LEX. Until recently, they’ve had a wall of shame on their website pointing at all of LEX’s failures. And even now that LEX is gone, they still pay homage on their site: They announce that LEX is gone via their “So Long, LEX” link.
I’m happy for them, I guess. I’m also worried that they will turn this into a monopoly, continuing to advertise themselves as the best service to the suburbs, despite LEX’s discontinuation. I don’t want them to use their advertising tricks to bad-mouth Peoria or other transportation companies in the area. Because, while I’m positive they did not directly shut down LEX (Lincolnland Express did it to itself), I’m also positive that Suburban’s negative marketing did not help them in students’ eyes, even before Oct. 23.
Suburban Express is pretty reliable, but it’s not perfect. It’s no more expensive than the other services, and it is not without its share of mishaps. In fact, the first time I had to use LEX, it was because Suburban Express kicked me off a bus with no room for me the day of my trip home.
Plus, I don’t know how I feel about a company that calls itself the “Sexpress” and tells me to use their servicees when I need to “get some” in my hometown. I’m all for appropriate and tantalizing advertising that appeals to the human sex drive, but for some reason, Suburban Express makes me want to put on more clothes.
As of right now, it’s looking like Suburban will be the reigning champion of the bus services. And all can go well if Suburban doesn’t try to be a monopoly and instead drives its way into our hearts fair and square.
First of all, they need to provide more for students. Instead of just cashing in on LEX’s failures and lazily posting a link on the homepage, they need to advertise — and deliver — more buses and more times for students to go home. Since we lost a whole bus service, they will win our favor if they somehow add to the negative 30 buses and 34 drivers that we have now.
They also need to stop negatively slamming other bus services. It worked for LEX because LEX did not have it together. But besides the fact that the Greyhound going to the suburbs isn’t really cheap or time efficient, and Peoria doesn’t have too many travel time options, there isn’t much scandal.
LEX is dead, and Suburban lives on.
I just hope this is a win-win situation for students and doesn’t cause us more problems in the near future.
Tolu is a senior in Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.