As students gear up to head home for Thanksgiving break, their travel preparations may look different from years past without the familiar Madison Bus Depot to rely on for their ticketing needs.
With the closing of the Madison bus depot on West Washington Avenue, Badger Coaches changed its departure sites to include the Memorial Union, Kelly’s Market and the Dutch Mill park and ride.
“To the best of my knowledge, there has been no drop off in the number of students who use Badger Bus services since the depot closed,” said Scott Kreisler, schedule coordinator for Badger Coaches.
The Memorial Union, Kreisler said, is actually a smarter choice for a boarding location than the bus depot because it is an easily accessible site on campus that also provides passengers a warm place to wait for their buses.
Ever since Badger Coaches started departing from and returning to the Union, traveling has been much more convenient because the Union is such a central location, said UW sophomore Megan Swodzinski, who recently traveled from the Union on the Badger Bus.
Now that the Union is a departure site, UW sophomore and Union worker Kate Beggs said there is much more congestion inside and outside the Union at departure times due to the high number of students who take the Badger Buses.
In contrast with the Badger Coaches services, the number of students traveling to the local Greyhound station, which is now located on 2023 South Stoughton Rd., has decreased slightly with the closing of the old bus depot.
“While the volume of students coming to the station has gone down a little bit, the majority of students who have rode Greyhound buses previously just travel the extra distance to get to the station,” said Brian Mastin, station agent for Greyhound Lines.
Similar to Badger Coaches, students may also pick up a Greyhound bus at the Dutch Mill park and ride, yet this station is closed on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
Badger Coaches offers five daily departures from the Union and six from Kelley’s Market and the Dutch Mill park and ride, all of whose final destination is Milwaukee.
Friday through Monday, buses also travel from Madison to the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and stop at UW-La Crosse, Winona State University and in Rochester, Minn. on the way.
Students most often purchase their tickets from badgerbus.com because if a student orders online, he or she receives a ticket at a discounted price, Kreisler said.
He added even though students must buy their tickets at least a half hour before departure time when ordering online, they can obtain a ticket at the essentials desk in the lobby of Memorial Union up to the last few minutes before the bus leaves.
To purchase a Greyhound ticket, students can stop in the station minutes before the bus leaves to reserve a seat, or may order a ticket online or by calling (608) 257-3050, Mastin said.