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