By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — If you have ever been on Becker Road at the magical afternoon hour, you may have had a chance to witness the fleet of buses exit the Marshfield High School parking lot and perhaps even to appreciate the massive parade as it works its way out of the lot and onto the street and the orchestration required to make everything work.
Behind it all is Marshfield Bus Service, the high occupancy transportation company that has been in Marshfield for 25 years.
“In 1992 we replaced what would have been Jelco (bus service) at the time,” said Marshfield Bus Service General Manager Verlyn Randt. “The contract went up for bid, and we won the bid, and we’ve been here ever since.”
Marshfield Bus Service is an extension of its parent company, Richland Center Bus Service, which is owned and operated by the Donald and Susan Zimmerman family of Onalaska.
When the company established a presence in Marshfield, it began construction on its 1507 S. Anton Ave. terminal, where Marshfield Bus Service remains today.
“We built the storage building just to the south of (the terminal in the mid-1990s),” added Assistant Manager Carol Richard.
“That was to house the motor coaches, because we have two motor coaches, and that was to give them the ability to be indoors in a heated facility so that the toilets and stuff wouldn’t freeze,” Randt said.
Before the motor coaches, Marshfield Bus Service purchased six different varieties of shuttles for the operation to go along with the 45 school buses it was already managing.
“We not only service the school district, but we also service (Marshfield) Clinic with shuttles for the patients and also hospital employees during the winter months,” Randt said. “The clinic has one of their own for transferring employees throughout the day.”
The clinic shuttle buses operate from 6:45 a.m. until 6 p.m.
In addition to transporting children to and from school, the company takes participants and spectators to and from sporting events and extracurricular activities.
“We do local functions also like Dairyfest breakfast,” explained Randt. “We’ve done parades. We’ve done dairy breakfasts like for the FFA. We do Steam Engine Days in Edgar.”
Randt and Richard accomplish everything with the help of nearly 70 employees, nine of which have been with Marshfield Bus Service the entire 25 years.
“There’s Dan Akin, Dan Richard, Marge Bredl, Floyd Ress, Thomas Clement, Anne Clement, Philip Messerschmidt, Duane Nothnagel, and Terry ‘Tex’ Kaiser,” stated Randt and Richard, naming off their longtime drivers.
Marshfield Bus Service will have a fleet of 62 buses going into the 2017-2018 school year.