There’s a new bus on the block

New Safe Rideshare Bus for UW-Eau Claire students and Eau Claire community members

More stories from Alanna Huggett

Pura Vida
May 15, 2019
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Photo by Alanna Huggett

Bonitz and Dawson’s business currently consists of three busses that will be used as shuttles for the public.

The Eau Claire City Council passed the Public Excessive Intoxication ordinance, formally known as the Public Good Order ordinance. The original ordinance included a provision to regulate and restrict certain transportation services from making stops in residential areas.

For citizens and students of Eau Claire, this means stronger police enforcement of public intoxication and public disturbances.

According to a Spectator article, on March 1, the Eau Claire Blue Bus — more commonly known as the “Drunk Bus” — operated by Right Way Shuttle, formally ceased offering its late night safe ride services due to the proposed restrictions listed in the original ordinance. This was posted on the Eau Claire Blue Bus Facebook page.

The Buzzed Bus, owned and operated by Brandon Dawson and Ben Bonitz, offers a safe solution to the recent shutdown of the Eau Claire Blue Bus.

As of Oct. 13, the Buzzed Bus will be sponsoring a safe ride program for UW-Eau Claire students. The Buzzed Bus will run hourly every Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., stopping in locations such as Karlgaard Towers, Centennial Hall, Water Street and Galloway Street, among others.

The safe ride shuttle will not be stopping in residential areas such as Randall Park. As a business, owners Bonitz and Dawson want to have the respect of the community and the police. By not driving in residential areas, they can achieve this, Bonitz said.

The Buzzed Bus is, however, willing to make accommodations in order to get passengers where they need to go, Dawson said.

In order to ride the bus, passengers are required to purchase a $5 wristband. The purchase of a wristband will give the passenger unlimited rides for the night. Passengers are not allowed to drink or smoke while riding the bus. Drugs, weapons and firearms are also prohibited.

“We want everyone, even infants, to ride on the bus if they have to,” Bonitz said.

Safety is an important factor for both Bonitz and Dawson. It’s one of the reasons they started their business, Bonitz said. Both men have experienced family members’ safety being compromised due to drunk and unsafe driving.

“I wanted to get people home safe,” Bonitz said.

Sarah Parson, a second-year elementary education and Spanish student, believes it’s important to offer these kinds of services for students.

“I think it’s really important to have transportation for students traveling and under the influence,” Parson said. “So I’m glad we have another accessible and affordable way to do so.”

Bonitz and Dawson are also looking to add Thursday night transportation services, in addition to running on Friday and Saturday.

“It’s for everybody,” Dawson said, “anybody that wants to ride it can ride it.”

Huggett can be reached at [email protected]