Record bus ridership fuels Jefferson Lines expansion

  • Article by: PATRICK KENNEDY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 13, 2011 - 7:37 PM

The bus company is taking over the Greyhound depot in Duluth and is looking to expand routes.

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CEO Charlie Zelle is adding trips to Duluth, Fargo, N.D., and other key markets in a service expansion for Minneapolis based Jefferson Lines.

Minneapolis-based Jefferson Lines is taking over the Greyhound Bus Depot in West Duluth on May 16 and will expand its bus service in Duluth.

Jefferson Lines currently runs three daily round trips between Duluth and Minneapolis. It will offer new daily service between Duluth and Eau Claire, Wis., starting at the end of June or early July and is looking for additional routes.

"We're looking at developing Duluth as a regional hub," said Charlie Zelle, president and CEO of Jefferson Lines.

It is looking to partner with Indian Trails bus service to offer service from Duluth to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan.

"One of the great benefits of bus travel is we can react quickly to our markets," Zelle said.

A combination of increased service, high gas prices and favorable prices with other travel has meant increased business for Jefferson Lines.

"In the past few months we've seen some record ridership," Zelle said.

Jefferson began a daily Minneapolis to Duluth service in 2004 and in 2005 it added college campus service. Jefferson will now have four bus stop locations in Duluth: 4426 Grand Av., West Duluth; University of Minnesota-Duluth; St. Scholastica and the Duluth Airport. They plan on sprucing up the former Greyhound depot.

Greyhound will end its service to Duluth on May 17, but still offers service between Minneapolis and Chicago.

Patrick Kennedy • 612-673-7926

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