NMU Leaves All Busing to Checker
NMU is officially out of the bus business. Checker Transport LLC, which operates the campus shuttle, submitted the lowest bid for providing group transportation to university-sanctioned sporting or other events, along with local activities related to admissions and orientation. The new contract went into effect Jan. 1.
The university’s signature 1997 and 2007 buses with the green-and-gold trim and Wildcat logos are still visible on the roads. Checker is leasing the vehicles for 18 months—a “grace period” to make sure the arrangement works for both parties—but has offered to buy them when the lease is up. They They are also using them to transport other groups outside of campus, but NMU has top priority.
“It’s expensive for universities to maintain their own buses and many are contracting out for this service,” said Steve Brown (Purchasing). “Departments will save money by using Checker because they have vehicles to accommodate any size group. With more options, they won’t have to pay for a larger bus than they need. We estimate an annual savings of about $13,000. This also frees up our two bus drivers, who are full-time buildings and grounds employees, to help with snow plowing and other needs on campus.”
Brown said this was a logical next step after NMU eliminated its transportation department, unloaded its fleet of cars and contracted with Enterprise to rent cars for university business, as needed. Departments who need bus services can call Checker directly at 226-7772.