Bieber Bus shut down abruptly and for good on Friday, Feb. 8, leaving the Mules wrestling team at Centennial Conference finals in New York City without a bus home.
“It was so stupid,” said Scott Schaeffer ‘20.
“The bus driver wasn’t told [that the bus would not be returning] until he got to Merchant Marine,” said Schaeffer. “He got us back to the hotel and went home.”
Many across the Lehigh Valley shared the same experience – a ski club trip to the Poconos and senior citizens on the way to a flower show found their rides canceled suddenly and without notice, even from their drivers.
Bieber is one of the transportation companies Muhlenberg uses for athletics away meets, career center road trips and student busing to and from New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia. The company closed with just over a million dollars in delinquent taxes, unpaid bills- including to the Port Authority stop in New York – and fees for dropping riders off in between stops.
“Bieber Bus has been serving Muhlenberg College students and the college directly for many years. It has been a stalwart provider of transportation in the Lehigh Valley for a long time and we are of course very disturbed by this news that Bieber has shut down,” said President John I. Williams. “It’s a great inconvenience for many of our students and our faculty and staff. We have used Bieber for years to transport our athletic teams and career roadtrips, so we will have to find alternatives as a college, and our faculty and staff will need to find alternatives for their personal transportation.”
Jason P. Feiertag, Chief Budgeting and Accounting Officer, is in charge of Muhlenberg’s contract with Bieber and had to help reschedule some buses.
“We had three busses scheduled over the weekend for theatre. We had to scramble to get them buses,” said Feiertag. “We were able to do that, but the bigger picture is athletics. We had a contract with Bieber to provide all our athletic transportation.”
The wrestling team was able to get a Trans-Bridge bus to return to campus the next morning, which drew praise from Lynne Tubman, Athletic Director.
“I am so impressed with the department’s response. It was a true team effort! The staff worked together to reach out to multiple bus companies to ensure our teams traveling this weekend and this week had transportation,” said Tubman.
The transportation for the rest of the spring season is still to be decided, said Tubman.
“We are currently receiving bids from other bus companies to cover the remainder of our teams’ transportation needs for the spring,” said Tubman.
The College is currently looking at Trans-Bridge, Coach, Kline transportation, and JJ Limousine, according to Fiertag.
Wrestling Coach Jason McLean referred to the situation as “just a little more shuffling”.
“Our athletic department heads are very much on top of things,” said McLean. “We were in constant communication with our office and everything worked out smoothly.”
The wrestling team went on to win two out of three matches and place fourth in the Centennial Conference Championships- despite the busing blues.
Students looking to travel have the option of Kline transportation, Trans-Bridge and Fullington Trailways.
To receive a refund for already purchased tickets, visit the Bieber Bus website or email tourways@biebergroup.