May 20, 2010

MU added to interstate bus services

by Erin Rosacker

Beginning last week, two interstate bus lines, Jefferson Lines and Burlington Trailways, made the Memorial Union a stop on their routes. Three southbound buses, three northbound buses and two eastbound buses are stopping daily on the north side of the MU.

Gail Ferlazzo, MU associate director, said the bus stop location will move to the west side of the MU on June 1 to avoid traffic congestion with CyRide buses. There also are plans to sell bus tickets at the hotel front desk, likely to begin June 7. Freight service for package delivery to or from the MU also will be an added service.

The MU stop is intended to serve as an interim bus depot for travelers until an intermodal transportation facility is operational (in approximately two years). The new facility, a collaborative effort between ISU and the city of Ames, will be funded by $8.4 million in federal grant money.

"Once the intermodal facility is established near Campustown, the regional bus service and the Executive Express airport shuttle service will change their site locations to the new facility," Ferlazzo said. "Until then, we ask for everyone's patience as we add to the traffic congestion that already surrounds the MU. We hope that the addition of these services will be just one more amenity that draws people to the MU."

For now, the MU's second-floor main lounge is serving as a passenger waiting area. Until ticket sales are available at the MU, passengers can purchase tickets on the Jefferson Lines and Burlington Trailways websites, or board the bus at the MU and purchase tickets at the next available bus station with ticket sales along the route.

The current schedules are:

Southbound to Kansas City (Jefferson Lines, $27-$45)
12:25 a.m., arrives 4:30 a.m. in Kansas City (1:05 a.m. in Des Moines)
12:55 p.m., arrives 5:15 p.m. in Kansas City (1:40 p.m. in Des Moines)
5 p.m., arrives 9:15 p.m. in Kansas City (6 p.m. in Des Moines)

Northbound to Minneapolis (Jefferson Lines, $29.40-$49)
12:15 a.m., arrives 5:25 a.m. in Minneapolis
11:45 a.m., arrives 4:50 p.m. in Minneapolis
4:15 p.m., arrives 8:15 p.m. in Minneapolis

Eastbound to Chicago (Burlington Trailways, $38.25-$51)
10 a.m., arrives 7:05 p.m. in Chicago (12:10 p.m. in Cedar Rapids)
*5 p.m., arrives 5:25 a.m. in Chicago (6 p.m. in Des Moines)

*Jefferson Lines route to Des Moines