Bus service hitting the road again with borrowed buses

WETMORE — Alger County’s public bus service is picking up the pieces of its schedule with borrowed buses after a devastating fire.

ALTRAN has set up temporary offices in Wetmore at the Luce-Mackinac-Alger-Schoolcraft District Health Department.

The fire that started Wednesday night at the ALTRAN garage in Munising destroyed the building and damaged many buses.

“DATA, in Delta County, has loaned us two buses and Manistique has loaned us a bus,” ALTRAN operations coordinator Kathy Kolbus said. “Marquette County, they’re checking to see if they have something available. We may be possibly getting something from them, too, and we have two buses coming Sunday from Charlevoix, and we’ve got two buses from Sault Ste. Marie.”

ALTRAN has been running two buses and a van Friday. Everything else has been rendered inoperative.

Most of ALTRAN’s employees have been working since the fire to get routes active again, especially for riders that have a medical need.

“They have moved furniture, come in and made sure that everything’s taken care of,” Kolbus said. “Buses are running. Our mechanic’s been here, making sure everything’s on the go. We have people that go up to Marquette for (kidney) dialysis, and it’s pretty critical for them to be able to get up for their dialysis. That’s something that, we’re glad we can provide that.”

ALTRAN officials say they expect to be close to 100% operational again by Monday. They’re thanking the transit agencies that have helped them.

They also want to thank firefighters who saved their computer systems, files and other supplies. ALTRAN says if those things hadn’t been saved, the agency wouldn’t be operational at all right now.