University Transit Service
|Headquarters||1101 Millmont Street, Charlottesville, Virginia|
|Service area||University of Virginia and Surrounding Areas|
|Service type||Bus service|
University Transit Service (UTS) began in 1972, when fifteen student drivers started a pilot program with four rented buses at the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today, UTS has a fleet of more than 30 buses and 140 drivers serving the UVA community. UTS serves more than 3 million passengers per year and traverses the University of Virginia Central Grounds, University of Virginia Health System, and housing areas. UTS also provides chartered services for public and private events.
History of UTS
The University Transit Bus System began in 1972 at the same time as the introduction of parking fees at UVA. The bus system alleviated parking congestion on the Central Grounds and provided an alternative to individual car usage.
The first fleet consisted of four rented buses, but these were replaced by UTS' own fleet in November 1972. From the start, students provided most of the work force (15 students and 3 full-time drivers). At first, service was provided Monday-Friday 7:30am–12:30am, with the first route running from Copeley Hill Apartments to Scott Stadium. A gate preventing access to the University Law School was removed in order to allow for bus traffic. Eventually, service was expanded to include the Rugby/Grady neighborhood, a popular student housing area. Charter services were available from UTS’ first days of operation.
In 1972, bus passes were required and cost $7.50 per semester. Students had to purchase these passes separately from parking permits. On the first full day of service, 3,300 passengers rode the new University buses. UTS provided additional equipment to accommodate standing passengers.
In 1979, the service was extended to include a weekend service after a student referendum to raise the comprehensive transportation fee by $5. By March 1979, UTS had three routes and 16 buses. Talks began in 1979 concerning the combination of UTS and CTS.
The University Transit Service designed routes based on thorough research to provide specific service to diverse groups of passengers. The following are the seven University Transit Service routes:
- Northline Connector
- University Loop
- Blue Line (formerly Green Route)
- Red Line (formerly Stadium Hospital Shuttle)
- Central Grounds Shuttle (CGS)
- Special Route
- Purple Route (formerly Colonnade Shuttle)
- Hereford/I.R.C. Express (HXP)
The 'Rider' mobile app will show the estimated arrival time of each bus according to the GPS tracking system.
Types of service
The University Transit Service operates at different service levels dependant on the needs of the students and staff who use the service and the availability of various campus access points.
The University Transit Service offers Charter Services to accommodate the special transportation needs of various academic groups and affiliates of the University of Virginia. UTS Charters also participates heavily in major events at the University of Virginia such as Graduation, home football and basketball games, and the annual Foxfield Races.
Connecting transit services
University Transit Service (UTS) works closely with Charlottesville Area Transit and JAUNT. The University provides an annual subsidy for the Charlottesville Free Trolley Route that connects the downtown mall with Central Grounds. Recently the University signed an agreement with the city to provide a subsidy to allow employees and students with UVA Identification, free transit on city buses. This open ridership program allows access to the newly restored Greyhound and Union Station on West Main Street, encouraging more people to travel by bus and rail. About 16 percent of the Charlottesville's city bus riders display UVA identification cards.
The current fleet consists of the following vehicles:
|Unit||Year/Make||Height||Length||Width||Weight (Tons)||Wheel Chair Lift|
|2003 Gillig Phantom||10'||35'||8'||13.5||Front|
|2004 Gillig Phantom||10'||35'||8'||13.5||Front|
|2006 Gillig Phantom||10'||35'||8'||13.5||Front|
|2007 Gillig Low Floor||10'2"||35'||8'5"||13||Front|
|2009 Gillig Low Floor||10'2"||35'||8'5"||13||Front|
|3252||2009 Setra 417||12'8"||46'||8'5"||13||Rear|
|2012 Gillig Low Floor||10'2"||35'||8'5"||13||Front|
|2014 Gillig Low Floor||10'2"||35'||8'5"||13||Front|
|2017 Gillig Low Floor||10'2"||35'||8'5"||13||Front|
|2018 Gillig Low Floor||10'2"||35'||8'5"||13||Front|
The University Transit Service employs full-time and part-time non-student drivers, but UVA students make up the majority of its work force. The students are required to undergo a rigorous training process that satisfies the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles' requirement for a Commercial Driver's License and teaches them the different routes at UVA. Three official training classes are offered throughout the year during January, May, and August, although in times of driver shortage new drivers can be trained one on one or in small groups throughout the semester. All of the new driver training is performed by current UTS drivers who are selected before the beginning of the training class to be trainers. Training is overseen by a Training Coordinator who is also a current driver and is selected for the task before each training session.
Each year four student supervisors are chosen from current drivers who apply. Although they are called 'student' supervisors, these supervisors manage all drivers that are currently on the road while they are on duty, whether they are student drivers, wage drivers, or full-time drivers. Each supervisor is assigned days of the week to be 'on duty', during which time they deal with driver and route problems as they present themselves. The four supervisors head three committees: The Bilateral Extension of the Safety and Training Committee (BEST), Public and Employee Relations (PER), and the Charter Committee.
Unlike becoming a new driver, there are no training classes for becoming a supervisor. New supervisors are instead taught on the job for a few weeks by the supervisors from the previous year. The previous supervisor acts only in a mentoring capacity and generally does not directly supervise drivers during this time.
The University Transit Service budget consists of several components: the Mandatory Comprehensive Transportation Fee of $144 (as of the 2008-2009 academic year), UVA Health System funding, University Heights Apartments transportation fee, and charter services.
- Averette, Brittany. "Student Driven." The University of Virginia Magazine Spring 2006. Web. 4 Jan. 2012.
- University Transit Service Routemap
- University Transit Service Routes
- Service Schedule
- The Economic Impact of the University of Virginia p.16]
- CTS Stats‐UVA ID Passengers Boarding Bus
- University Transit Service Fleet Manual. Mid-Fall 2008. Page 3-4
- "University Transit Service Committees: Student Driven". Retrieved 4 May 2010.
- Transportation and Parking Committee January 22, 2009
- UTS to Follow New Routes