Thanks to the efforts of some members of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin and the open minds of management at Lamers Bus Lines, Inc., it is now possible to more conveniently and affordably transport bicycles on the network of Lamers Connect intercity bus routes across Wisconsin..
Bicycle transport policies of the intercity bus industry often require at least partial disassembly and packaging of a bicycle. Charges used by other intercity carriers are based on package freight rates, often $25.00 to $35.00. The new Lamers Connect policy now allows bicycles for transport un-boxed and fully assembled. For a daily fee of only $10.00, passengers may transport their bicycles between any of the 28 bus stops in 22 communities served by Lamers Connect routes.
Lamers made these new policies in response to customer suggestions and to reflect a refreshing common sense approach to passenger needs. About a month ago, the Bicycle Federation received an email from Sally S who complained that she and a group of friends in Madison liked to do bicycle rides around different parts of the state, but preferred to travel on bus rather than drive. The problem at the time was that Lamers Connect intercity buses required bicycles to be boxed prior to transport.
I responded to Sally that I would contact Lamers, but it is always best if companies hear from their customers with requests for better bicycle accommodations. I followed through with a pleasant email exchange with Lamers customer support. I mentioned that Badger Bus Lines recently changed their policy to allow assembled, unboxed bikes to in the under-bus storage area for a nominal fee.
Sally and her friends followed through and sent emails and letters to Lamers customer support as well. Here is what Sally wrote:
”Just a suggestion, I do lots of biking around the state with friends. We don’t like to use cars so would like to have the ability to put our bikes on a rack on the bus to get to another city quickly. Please check out the bike racks that go on the front of busses for easy on and off. I think you might be surprised how many people would use this service. More and more people are doing bike touring, I think it would be a wonderful addition to your already increased service. By the way, it is wonderful that you have expanded service. Thanks”
Note the positive tone and constructive suggestion Sally took. This is always more effective than a complaint or rant. Here is Lamers response to the suggestions made by the Bike Fed, Sally and her friends:
“We recognize Wisconsin’s diverse network of bicycle routes and trails, and the positive impact of cycling in Wisconsin,” said Allen Lamers, President of Lamers Bus Lines. “While exterior bus racks used by city transit buses are not an option for intercity motor coaches, our generous under-bus luggage compartments provide the ability for Lamers Connect to transport bicycles safely and efficiently.”
How awesome is that? How about three cheers to Sally and her friends for working with the Bike Fed to make Wisconsin a better place to bike? How about three cheers for Lamers connect for their common sense and fast customer responsive policy change? With this one effort, and the thoughtful response from Lamers management, it is now possible to get to more great places to ride in Wisconsin, get there in comfort, leave the car in the garage and the driving to someone else.
Lamers Connect routes provide essential daily intercity route service between Green Bay and Madison, Wausau and Madison, Dubuque and Madison, and Wausau and Milwaukee. Overall, 22 communities are served with 28 bus stops are now more bicycle friendly. The company, founded in 1944 and headquartered in Green Bay is the Midwest’s largest passenger transportation provider, with services that include school bus charters and route services, motor coach charters and escorted tours, trolley buses, mini-coaches, medical transport service, limo coaches and limousines.
Thanks Sally and friends! Send us some photos of the next cross state bicycle trip you take that you use Lamers. We will share them here on Over the Bars in Wisconsin. Thanks Lamers! Perhaps it is time for Lamers to apply to be one of the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Businesses?