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UVM Boots Megabus After Drug Busts

Seth Wenig
Associated Press
Passengers wait in line to board a Megabus in New York in 2011.

The University of Vermont moved low-cost bus line Megabus off of its campus this week after police repeatedly caught its passengers allegedly moving drugs into the state.

Megabus announced the change on its website Nov. 1.

At the request of UVM, we have been asked to vacate their campus bus-stop location, effective Monday, November 4th.

The company is temporarily operating out of the parking lot at the DoubleTree Hotel in South Burlington.

Megabus began service between Burlington and Boston in 2011 before expanding to other cities. In March, police made moves on three repeat offendersafter a months-long investigation. There have been more arrests since, and UVM this week finally booted the service, popular among the university’s students, from its campus.

The company’s Burlington service includes routes to Amherst, Mass., Boston, Hartford, Conn., New York City and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

UVM’s move came less than a week after Megabus passenger Elliot McIver was arrested with 30 grams of cocaine, as the Burlington Free Press reports.

Thomas Gustafson, UVM’s vice president for administration and university relations, said the move was a “tough choice but clear choice” after this year’s drug-related arrests.

Gustafson said the university had been trying to find a new, off-campus spot for the bus since the first major drug arrests in March. The latest news pushed the university to action, Gustafson said.

“We just had to say, ‘Look, we need to leave it to you to find an alternative,’” he said. “They don’t pay us and they don’t have a contract or anything like that, so we can’t tie ourselves in knots to try to find a place on campus for them to stop.”

Concerns about drug-related violence and the drugs themselves drew attention from campus police, and Gustafson said that, and more mild inconveniences like weary passengers walking into UVM buildings in search of a restroom, added up to the decision.

“It reached a point where it just didn’t make sense for us,” he said.

Mike Alvich, Megabus vice president of marketing and public relations, said in a statement that the company is actively seeking a new permanent location.

“As always, we look forward to continuing our partnership with the city to provide daily, affordable, express service with free Wi-Fi and power outlets to all our customers,” he said in the statement, which made no mention of the arrests or UVM. A representative said Alvich was unavailable for an interview Wednesday.

Taylor was VPR's digital reporter from 2013 until 2017. After growing up in Vermont, he graduated with at BA in Journalism from Northeastern University in 2013.
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