Bus full of Cornell students stranded on New York State Thruway in icy conditions

February 16, 2016 by Mark H. Anbinder

A bus that was delayed several hours leaving Boston has broken down on the New York State Thruway, stranding passengers heading back from Cornell's February Break on the side of the road.

Students stuck in a Shortline bus on the NYS Thruway. Photo courtesy Duncan Steele.Students stuck in a Shortline bus on the NYS Thruway. Photo courtesy Duncan Steele.Cornell architecture student Duncan Steele says the bus, which was to reach Ithaca at 7:30pm, didn't leave Boston until 4. It's now stranded on the shoulder of the New York State Thruway near Utica, about two hours northeast of Ithaca, and "passing cars are shaking the vehicle," he says.

Update: As of 8:50pm, Steele says passengers have been told a replacement bus is a half hour away.

Update: As of 9:10pm, a replacement bus has reached the scene to take passengers the rest of the way to Ithaca.

Update: The bus full of students reached Ithaca at about midnight, four and a half hours late.

The freshman, from Toronto, tells us the bus was already a replacement for a broken-down bus. Steele says passengers have been told the nearest ShortLine service center is about two hours away, but a plow operator has brought flares to warn nearby motorists of the stopped vehicle.

The bus, with roughly 50 passengers, has a dead battery, and Steele says there are no flashlights on the bus. He tells us "the temperature is OK at the moment, but it has fluctuated a lot over the course of the ride."

Wet, snowy, icy, and foggy weather over the course of the day in Central New York and throughout the northeast has led to flight delays and car accidents, flooding along Cascadilla Creek, and delays or early closures for local businesses and libraries.

CoachUSA's ShortLine service competes with Cornell University's own Campus2Campus bus service (which currently only serves New York City) as well as the new Big Red Bullet bus service. The company touts free Wi-Fi and electric outlets, and snacks and drinks, on its buses.

ShortLine officials could not be reached for comment on Tuesday evening.

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