Bus links Twin Cities, Duluth campuses

Buses travel from Coffman Union to the University’s Duluth campus daily.

by Jason Juno

Mechanical engineering junior Jay Peterson said his car needs $3,000 in repairs.

“I don’t even like driving my car around town,” he said.

A Jefferson Lines bus that connects the University’s Twin Cities and Duluth campuses offers a safer option for travel, Peterson said. He will probably use it twice a month to visit his parents and girlfriend in Duluth, Minn., he said.

Jefferson Lines started the service Thursday and will continue making the round trip daily throughout the school year, said Heidi Sporre, Jefferson Lines marketing and sales coordinator.

Tickets will be sold at Coffman Union soon, she said. Students pay $17 for a $20 ticket with their U Cards, Sporre said.

Riders are picked up at Coffman Union at 11 a.m. each day. The bus will arrive in Duluth at 2:45 p.m., she said.

The trip by car, depending on speed, can take two to 2 1/2 hours with clear weather and traffic.

One reason the company started the line is to give students a more convenient on-campus stop, Sporre said.

She attended the University and said its on-campus parking is difficult. First-year students who do not have a car can use the bus, she said.

“If you just wanted to see Duluth, which is beautiful this time of year,” that is another reason to take the bus, she said.

The response to the bus line in Duluth has been good, said John Brostrom, an employee in the Auxiliary Services department at the University’s Duluth campus.

Three people took the bus line Thursday, and 11 more took it Friday, he said.

More than half of the Duluth campus’ students come from the 11-county Twin Cities metro area, Brostrom said.

Although University Parking and Transportation Services’ research has not shown a need for such a service, it is another option for students, Mary Sienko, the department’s marketing manager, wrote in an e-mail.

Stops in the Twin Cities include the St. Paul Greyhound terminal, the St. Paul Amtrak station and the Minneapolis Greyhound terminal. The bus also stops at towns along Interstate Highway 35, including Hinckley, Minn., and Cloquet, Minn. The final destination is the Duluth campus’ Kirby Student Center.

For Peterson, it could also be a savings in gas, considering gas costs more than $2 per gallon, he said.

First-year student Jon Carnes said he is from Duluth and the new bus option will be “potentially convenient” because he does not have his own car.

“It allows more independence,” he said. “I’d be less reliant on having to find a ride.”

Jefferson Lines buses also run to Wisconsin, North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri and other places, Sporre said. In the fall, buses will begin to stop at other college campuses such as Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin- Madison, she said.

People can visit jeffersonlines.com for more ticket information.

– Bryce Haugen contributed to this report.