The Lorenz Bus Service, the company St. Thomas uses to shuttle students between the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses, experienced a few bumps last week.
One of the company’s buses was towed from the front of the St. Thomas arches, while another experienced a collision traveling on Interstate 94.
Dan Meuwissen, director of Public Safety and Parking Transportation, said a leak caused the tow.
“There was some kind of leak; I believe it was a radiator leak. It was something that makes it inoperable, and we’re not going to be using it,” Meuwissen said.
Sophomore Molly Dougherty was riding on the other bus that had to pull over on the side of the I-94 bridge after being involved in an accident with another vehicle.
“It was definitely the other driver’s fault… they were trying to merge, and they were on a cellphone and didn’t notice. I was sitting right next to the window where he impacted on the bus,” Dougherty said.
Meuwissen could not comment on the accident, but other students on the bus confirmed what Dougherty said.
“We were just driving straight on the highway and a white car was trying to merge on the highway,” freshman Caitlin Steele said. “To the best of my knowledge, the white car tried to merge at the very wrong time. It kind of hit the bus, and it wasn’t bad; I just felt a jolt.”
Parked on the side of the bridge, students were forced to wait inside the bus until another bus took them back to campus.
“It was kind of scary like being on the highway where there wasn’t really a shoulder,” Dougherty said. “I kept feeling like the cars that were coming next to us were really, really close.”
Although the students on the bus agreed on how the accident happened, there was disagreement about how the bus company handled the accident.
“I think the bus driver was kind of new because he didn’t really know exactly where the insurance information was or anything like that,” Dougherty said.
Steele said she also thought the driver seemed new but thought he handled the situation well.
“The car had driven away already, so there wasn’t much he could do,” Steele said. “I felt like it was handled really well and very efficiently, and we were all on our way really soon.”
Meuwissen said the bus drivers are trained and have experience.
“They are experienced drivers. They come from transit history. There are a lot of things that we ask of these drivers. Specifically we want them to be friendly, we want them to (be) courteous and meet and greet… Lorenz, I don’t want to say hand-picks, but they are careful who they assign to our routes,” Meuwissen said.
When buses have to be replaced quickly, Meuwissen said the Lorenz Bus Company is very responsive.
Steele said they only had to wait about three to four minutes until the next bus was there to pick them up.
“The nice thing about this is its home base is actually closer than Schmitty and Sons was. So, their ability to replace a bus and get a new one on line is a little faster,” Meuwissen said.
Schmitty & Sons was the bus company that St. Thomas used until last year when its contract ended with the university.
Olivia Detweiler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.