Section: News

Students stranded at Columbus airport after bus debacle

Students arriving at John Glenn Columbus International Airport or the Columbus Greyhound Bus Station on Saturday were faced with a puzzling predicament: The shuttles arranged by Student Council to return around 50 students to campus at 4 p.m. were nowhere to be found. 

This year, Student Council organized transportation options before and after breaks to ensure that students would be able to get to and from campus safely. They contracted buses through Pioneer Trails, a charter bus company, and students were able to sign up for a specific time slot before break. 

Emails sent over the break to students who signed up for the 4 p.m. bus  informed them that they needed to be present 15 minutes prior to the strict departure time, as the shuttles would not return to pick up latecomers. According to Theresa Carr ’23, who had signed up for the bus, around 50 students were waiting at the stop. However, the bus was not present at 3:45 p.m., and was still absent at 4:15 p.m. Around that time, some students contacted the Office of Campus Safety to ask when the buses would arrive.  

Director of Campus Safety Michael Sweazey worked quickly after hearing of the delay. “We immediately reached out to the drivers, and they told us that their work orders only had the later pick-ups listed on them,” Sweazey wrote in an email to the Collegian. “We then reached out to the manager at Pioneer Trails, and he was very apologetic and reached out to his drivers to get a bus there as soon as possible.” 

Sweazey stated that Campus Safety also arranged for a 12-passenger van from Kenyon’s motorpool to pick up additional students. The van arrived around 6:30 p.m., two and a half hours after the original bus’s planned departure time. The bus from Pioneer Trails arrived later, around 7 p.m. Rather than waiting, a majority of students opted to arrange individual transportation. Several students were dissatisfied with the inconvenience, some waiting over an hour before organizing their own transportation back to Gambier. 

The long wait was only one of the complications students experienced while trying to return to campus. Another common difficulty was the high price of alternative transportation options. The shuttles provided by Kenyon are free. In contrast, the estimated taxi fare from Columbus to Gambier averages almost $90, according to Aboutlist’s taxi price calculator. This price often varies throughout the day based on user demand and can spike to over $130 on ride-share apps such as Uber or Lyft. High prices pose a difficulty for individual students organizing their own transportation back to campus, particularly on short notice. Several students shared rides to reduce this unexpected expense. 

“I ended up waiting until 5:20 p.m. for the bus, and ended up splitting the costs of an Uber with my roommate and another student to get to campus,” Anna Renteria ’25 wrote in an email to the Collegian. “I felt frustrated and annoyed that the bus never showed up.” 

Due to Campus Safety’s quick communication with Pioneer Trails and with students who contacted them, everyone waiting at the airport or at the bus station was eventually able to make it back to campus. “​​Ultimately, we transported some students back to campus in the van, some returned in the late-arriving bus and at least one [student] opted for the later scheduled bus,” Sweazey wrote. 

“I would like to commend Campus Safety Administrative Assistant Miracle Mahle for her quick efforts to, not only rectify the situation with Pioneer Trails, but to also get an extra driver to make sure we had transportation available as quickly as possible,” Sweazey wrote. “Of course, we are sorry that students were inconvenienced by this, and Pioneer Trails was very apologetic that they missed the pickup.”


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