Students frustrated with new bus service

With this year’s switch to a new bus company, some St.Thomas students have expressed frustration.

<p>One of the new shuttles got into an accident earlier this year. (Patrick Roche/TommieMedia)</p>
One of the new shuttles got into an accident earlier this year. (Patrick Roche/TommieMedia)

The campus shuttle is an important way to get between St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses, and due to class and work schedules, several students are concerned with the timeliness of the shuttle system.

The university has switched to a new bus company for its inter-campus shuttle after its contract ended with its last vendor, Schmitty & Sons. Starting this year, Lorenz Bus Service is the new shuttle.

Daniel Meuwissen, director of Public Safety and Transportation Department, said the Lorenz Bus Service company was chosen for its strong reputation, involvement in transit and resources.

However, junior Vincent Trovato said he has not been pleased with the switch.

“I think the new bus company is very inconsistent and unreliable, which is a really important issue when it comes to transportation to work or classes,” Trovato said. “I would like a bus system that runs on time. Being late is a huge problem for me and I’m sure many other people.”

As a commuter, freshman Georgia Seryakov uses the shuttle twice a day. She thinks the delays are due to traffic.

“I haven’t had any issues with the bus this year. It’s usually only late when there is traffic or other issues,” she said.

Trovato said that the shuttle delays may be partly due to construction and traffic but may also be partly due to carelessness.

“One time, the bus showed up 10 minutes late, and he still waited around five minutes before leaving. I think that part has nothing to do with traffic and is due to complete carelessness,” he said.

Public Safety confirmed in early September, one of the shuttles caught the rear bumper of the transit bus as it was maneuvering around it. Minor damage was done to the rear of the transit bus and a scrape occurred on the side of the Lorenz bus. It happened outside the St. Thomas downtown Minneapolis campus. There were no injuries, and the university immediately followed up on the accident.

Meuwissen said that Lorenz’s response to the university was “phenomenal,” and all precautions were taken to make sure all the students on the bus were safe at that time.

“We were made aware of the accident immediately,” he said. “I am working very close with the president of the company to ensure that the drivers also represent the university in the matter in which we want it to be portrayed.”

As for what happened to the driver of the bus incident, Meuwissen was not allowed to comment on how the Lorenz Bus Service addresses its employee issues. The Lorenz Service has a contract with the university for the next five years.

Senior Jessica Urban uses the shuttle every day to get to work at the Minneapolis campus. She thinks that the timing and service of the shuttle is improving.

“I’ve noticed that the shuttle timings have been a lot more consistent lately, however, over the summer I experienced a lot of issues with getting to work on time because there would be times where the buses would break down or would arrive off schedule.”

Public Safety is aware of the student frustration over the delays in the bus schedule.

“There are issues right now with traffic and construction on 94, University and Lake Street, that would not have mattered what bus company we used,” Meuwissen said.

Meuwissen said when there are bus delays due to traffic or construction, Public Safety will be doing everything possible to get routes back on time.

“I think it is important that students know that we are looking at every option to improve the bus timing between the two campuses,” he said. “We recognize the hardship. We need to ask students to plan ahead and recognize that until the construction ends, they should be planning the best they can to be there early.”

Anna Tu can be reached at

3 Replies to “Students frustrated with new bus service”

  1. I work on the Minneapolis campus and rely a great deal on the buses. I’ve been pretty unhappy overall with the switch. The issue isn’t that the buses aren’t getting where they need to go on time– obviously there’s a lot of construction and I can factor time in for that. The problem is when I’m running to catch a departing bus that’s supposed to leave at 9:40 AM– and it’s 9:31. The first time this happened I figured it was a really late 9:20 shuttle, but after a few times I realized they were just leaving early. It’s not always possible, because of class or other responsibilities, for me to get to the bus stop ten minutes early. It’s important for students like me who have important commitments in Minneapolis (work or class) to be able to count on the bus to stay at the stop until it’s scheduled to leave. One particular time the next bus did not come until 10:00, which was the same time I was meant to begin my shift. My coworkers and bosses need me to be on time, and even though traffic can be unreliable, that doesn’t mean the buses should leave stops ahead of schedule.

  2. Lorenz is 85% of the time late. The drivers take routes that are longer than usual, even when there is clearly no traffic congestion. 

    One or two of the buses they use are very filthy. it is as though they were rearing pigs, goats and whatever else in them.  They need to shape up or just give up the contract.

    1. Be on time, don’t use construction as an excuse.
    2. Clean those buses, they are filthy.
    3. Get UST wording and imagery on them.

  3. The only reason they’ve been running late is the construction. Why is this so hard for people to understand?  The stretch 94 that you have to travel on to Minneapolis is ALWAYS congested.  Even when I drove on it at 2am on Friday night, it was still congested.  With all the construction in Minneapolis, taking University avenue or any other route would be even more congested.  When you think the busses are leaving early, they’re really just leaving late, even if it happens daily.  That is not Lorenz’s fault.  It would be the exact same situation with Schmitty&Sons.

    However, I did have quite the experience with Lorenz the other week on a UST sponsored trip to the Vikings game.  We did not arrive back to UST until 2 hours after the vikings game was over (a drive which should take 20 minutes at the very max).  I think the driver was purposely trying to build up overtime hours because she made wrong turns, missed freeway exits, and sometimes didn’t even move forward when she was sitting at a green light and people were honking at us.  We were all telling her which way to go, and she’d say OK but then not take our advice.  Now that was a terrible experience.

Comments are closed.