Brakes fail on UVM bus

UVM bus driver Dave Lobdell got into a minor accident on Pearl Street at about 7:45 p.m. Friday. The passengers on the bus and Lobdell were not injured, but some were a little shaken up.When leaving the Jeanne Mance dorms on Pearl Street, just before North Willard Street, Lobdell realized that the brakes were not working. “I kept pushing the brakes as hard as I could and the bus wasn’t stopping,” Lobdell said.”The brakes were working earlier that morning. This has been the first mechanical problem I’ve had with the buses that was serious,” he said. As the bus rolled downhill at about 10 miles per hour, the bus hit a car in front of them. The bus had no noticeable damage and the car had minor damage to its bumper. The bus had about seven passengers who were forced to get off after the accident.For the most part, the passengers remained calm,” bus security guard Jamie Hansonsaid. Police came to file an accident report and to direct traffic while the bus was towed.”UVM has pretty old buses, but UVM does a good job at keeping them up,” Lobdell said.”The buses here are in constant use, and the mechanic that works for UVM is a very good mechanic.” There are eight buses in use at the University and there will be two new compressed natural gas buses added to the fleet in the future. University buses are typically acquired when federal funding is available for them. “My boss is great at wheeling and dealing,” Lobdell said. The University has increased the running times on Friday and Saturday nights until one or two in the morning forsafety purposes. “I’ll stop anywhere to pick students up. I’m not going to pass anyone up and make them walk home,” he said.For safety reasons, the police do realize that the kids on the bus have probably beendrinking, but the police are not looking to make trouble and get kids for drinking underage, Lobdell said. Police just want to get the students safely back to campus.”I think that the fact that there is a 21-year-old drinking age is both illegal and unconstitutional,” Lobdell said, in response to a question about an 18-year-old drinking age.