A UDASH bus collided with a parked car on campus Monday morning, according to ASUM officials.
The bus was one of two new electric buses commissioned by ASUM last September. It sideswiped a Jeep Cherokee on the S-curve on Campus Drive near the University Center. The car was illegally parked near a yellow-painted curb, according to University of Montana Police Chief Marty Ludemann.
“The bottom line to me is these things happen now and then,” said Jordan Hess, director of the ASUM Office of Transportation. “We’ve got to improve our training and response and go from there.”
The new electric buses are larger than the traditional gas-powered UDASH buses and Ludemann said the size of the bus may have been a contributing factor in the collision, making it more difficult to stay in the correct lane while passing the parallel-parked cars on Campus Drive.
The bus suffered no damage, Hess said. The incident is still under investigation and no citations have been given yet.
“The car was illegally parked, but that doesn’t mean the bus (driver) isn’t at fault,” Ludemann said.
The yellow curb was covered in ice and snow, Ludemann said, making the no-park area difficult to see from certain angles. The police department is looking into adding a barricade near the area of the collision.
Despite the size of the electric buses, UDASH drivers enjoy driving them more than the gas-powered ones, according to Hess.
“(They’re) finding they handle really well,” he said.
Hess said vehicle-on-vehicle collisions involving UDASH buses occur about once per year, or once every 130,000 miles.
The name of the bus driver and owner of the parked car were not given because the incident is still under investigation.