Bus service closes in Monticello
MONTICELLO — Monticello Bus Service, which dates back to 1946, closed down this week here, as well as other locations that include Litchfield and St. Louis.
Jim Pownall of Decatur, one of the owners of the business, said he was "not at liberty to discuss" the reasons for the closure, but did pass on his appreciation to Monticello and the surrounding communities that were served by the business.
"I've enjoyed my time here, and even though I didn't live in the community, I've been active in the community and enjoyed my time there," Pownall said.
He was active in Monticello Rotary, and was known to donate use of company buses to various efforts, including trips for seniors to see Christmas lights and for some school trips.
Pownall, 74, joked that going out of business is "probably a blessing in disguise" in that he will now be able to retire. He was not sure how many employees worked for the company but estimated it as between 50 and 75.
The business had contracts with several area universities but the Monticello branch no longer provided daily K-12 transportation for any area school districts. Monticello Bus had provided service for the Monticello School District for 40 years until being outbid in 2011 by Illinois Central Bus.
Pownall, a fifth-generation transportation employee, had been with the firm for 29 years.
Themonticellobus.com website said only that the firm is "no longer in business." The corporate site in St. Louis noted the company was purchased by new owners in 1985, and had expanded its fleet from 13 buses and four charter coaches to a current 185 school buses and 11 coaches.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the firm's home office was in St. Louis, and said it had 10 coaches rather than 11.