No one was hurt during the teen's 3 1/2-mile adventure that began in St. Paul and ended in the neighboring suburb of Roseville, the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune reported.
The boy was being held while charges were sorted out.
Roseville police said the incident began when the Centerline Charter Corp. bus driver pulled up to a service station and left the keys in the ignition while she went inside to get a cup of coffee. When she came out, the bus was gone.
The driver phoned her boss, police were contacted and the bus was tracked through its global positioning system device.
The Star Tribune said the boy, apparently listening to the vehicle's radio, heard police were after him and took off in the vehicle, running a stoplight and stop sign, and dodging traffic along the way.
The bus company's operations manager, who also had given chase, caught up to the bus and yelled at the teen driver to stop. The boy pulled into a service station but bumped into the gas pumps before coming to a halt, police said.
Police said the boy told officers he thought the bus had been abandoned and he only wanted to return it to the charter company.