Traveling to and from campus will now be easier for St. Thomas students, faculty and staff, thanks to Northfield Lines.
The company, based in Northfield, Minn., began its new service Aug. 31 to help people commute to St. Thomas, especially from the Northfield area.
Riders pay $10 each way. They also can buy commuter subscription packages for one month at $99 and a monthly subscription renewal for $230. St. Thomas does not pay Northfield Lines for this service.
“Originally it was intended to help commuters being transported from Northfield to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area,” said John Benjamin, president of Northfield Lines Inc., “but then it evolved also into a means of transportation for students at St. Olaf and Carleton College to get to the metro area.”
When Northfield Lines added stops at the University of Minnesota, St. Thomas and St. Catherine University, many students took the opportunity to visit friends at those colleges.
“Many people are coming out of the woodwork and using it in ways we had never dreamed of,” Benjamin said. “We didn’t think there would be people getting on at St. Thomas, coming down to visit their friends at St. Olaf and Carleton. I was shocked at how many students are doing that.”
Benjamin said at least one person from St. Thomas rides the bus every day.
“I think it’s a good thing to have,” sophomore Steph Dack of Northfield said. “I probably will use it, if I need to go home and my parents don’t want to come pick me up.”
Sophomore Tyler Kitzman also thinks the service is a good idea and said he looks forward to using the bus line.
“It will help commuting for [Northfield residents], and help cut down on gas consumption and emissions,” he said.
The buses are full-sized coaches with bike racks, tables and free Wi-Fi.
The buses will stop in front of the arches at 6:53 a.m., 3:43 and 6:22 p.m. Monday through Friday. On weekends, the bus will pick up passengers at 12:08 and 5:08 p.m. Saturdays, and 1:08 and 5:08 p.m. Sundays.
Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org