Apartments and retail are proposed to replace the Badger Bus depot, 2 S. Bedford St. Planning documents submitted to the city by Jim Meier, an owner of Badger Bus, suggest intercity bus service can instead use a "transit hub" that will be part of a new Union South.
Union spokesman Marc Kennedy disputes this. "There are no plans to become a 24-hour bus station at either Union building," he says. "The new south campus Union won't have the necessary space to stage regional or national bus service."
Meier did not respond by deadline.
Meanwhile, on Jan. 1, Jefferson Lines ended its Madison-to-Minneapolis route, popular with students and Viroqua-area Amish. The line had long been known for spotty service; at the end of UW exams last semester, say Union Commons staff, Jefferson skipped its stop at the Memorial Union, stranding ticket-holding students whose dorms had closed.
The portion of the Highway 14 route to La Crosse via Spring Green, Richland Center and other communities was underwritten by the federal government. That money might be available for another provider, via the state Department of Transportation.
"We have received a number of inquiries from some communities in the region as well as from bus operators in relation to replacing at least some of the service lost with this discontinuation," says John Alley of WisDOT. "To date, we have not received any actual proposals for service."