University Transit Service

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University Transit Service
Headquarters1101 Millmont Street, Charlottesville, Virginia
LocaleCharlottesville, Virginia
Service areaUniversity of Virginia and Surrounding Areas
Service typeBus service
Fuel typeBiodiesel

University Transit Service (UTS) is a fare-free transit system providing service to the University of Virginia's students, faculty, and staff. UTS serves more than 3 million passengers per year and traverses the University of Virginia Central Grounds, University of Virginia Health System, and student housing areas. UTS also provides chartered services for university-sponsored events.

History of UTS[edit]

The University Transit Bus System began in 1972 at the same time as the introduction of parking fees at UVA, when fifteen student drivers started a pilot program.[citation needed] 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.[1] 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,[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

On August 24, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UTS added several new routes and modified the UVA Health Commuter routes.[2]

Service provided[edit]


UTS routes are designed to provide service to those that are transit-dependent, rather than those that ride out of convenience. The following are the seven University Transit Service routes:[3]

Academic Routes[edit]

  • Orange Line (OR)
    • Service between the Mad/Preston Area, UVA Hospital, and Central Grounds. Operates Monday thru Friday, 7:30 AM – 10:00 PM and Saturday, 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM.
  • Silver Line (SLV)
    • Service from the John Paul Jones Arena and Blue permit lots into Central Grounds via Emmet St. and Whitehead Rd. Operates Monday thru Friday, 7:30 AM – 10:00 PM.
  • Gold Line (GL)
    • Service between Hereford, First Year Dorms, Central Grounds, Emmet St, and North Grounds. Operates Monday thru Friday, 7:30 AM – 10:00 PM and Saturday, 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM.

UVA Health Commuter Routes[edit]

  • Redline Express (RDX)
    • Service from Red Permit lots around Bryant Hall to the UVA Hospital. Operates Monday thru Friday, 5:00 AM – 6:00 AM.
  • Redline (RED)
    • Service from Red Permit lots around Scott Stadium to the UVA Hospital. Operates Monday thru Friday, 6:00 AM – 8:30 AM and 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM.
  • Blueline (BLUE)
    • Service from the Emmet/Ivy Garage to the UVA Hospital. Operates Monday thru Friday, 8:30 AM – 8:00 PM

GPS Tracking[edit]

University Transit Service contracts with TransLoc to provide a mobile app that shows the estimated arrival time and approximate location of each bus according to the GPS tracking system.

Types of service[edit]

University Transit Service operates at different service levels dependent on the needs of the students and staff who use the service, as well as the availability of various campus access points.[4]

  • Full Service
    • Runs during the fall and spring academic semesters unless otherwise posted. All routes operate during this service level.
  • Reduced Service
    • Runs on weekdays only during summer sessions, fall reading days, winter break, and spring break. Reduced frequency on academic routes.
  • Exam Service
    • Runs during the fall and spring exam periods.
  • Commuter Service
    • Provides Health System Route service during holidays when clinics are still in operation, such as the workdays before Thanksgiving and after Christmas Day. Only service for UVA Health Commuter Routes.
  • Football Operations
    • During home football games, most or all route service is suspended and may not resume until post-game. Throughout the game, UTS operates an accessibility shuttle that runs from the D3 parking lot to Scott Stadium.


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. In response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, UTS has stopped accepting new charter requests.[5]

Connecting transit services[edit]

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.[6] The University has an agreement with the city to provide a subsidy that allows staff, faculty, and students to ride city buses fare-free with a valid UVA ID. This open ridership program allows access to the Greyhound bus station and Amtrak's Union Station on West Main Street, encouraging more people to travel by bus and rail. In the 2017 fiscal year, UVA staff, faculty, and students formed just under 24 percent of CAT's ridership.[7]

COVID-19 Response[edit]

UTS made a number of notable changes during the COVID-19 Pandemic, including the following:[8]

  • Bus capacity is reduced to 20 passengers, with seating reorganized to maximize social distancing
  • Passengers are required to wear face coverings
  • A chain has been added to prevent passengers from getting too close to the driver
  • Academic routes have been reconfigured to avoid McCormick Road and other areas of short "convenience trips."
  • Staff have been added to certain bus stops and onboard certain routes to enforce both the face covering requirement and the 20-passenger limit

Fleet Information[edit]

The current fleet consists of the following vehicles:[9]

Unit Year/Make Height Length Width Weight (Tons) Wheel Chair Lift/Ramp


2006 Gillig Phantom 10' 35' 8' 13.5 Front


2007 Gillig Low Floor 9'8" 35' 8'5" 13 Front


2009 Gillig Low Floor 9'8" 35' 8'5" 13 Front


2012 Gillig Low Floor 9'8" 35' 8'5" 13 Front


2014 Gillig Low Floor 9'8" 35' 8'5" 13 Front


2017 Gillig Low Floor 9'8" 35' 8'5" 13 Front


2018 Gillig Low Floor 9'8" 35' 8'5" 13 Front


2019 Gillig Low Floor 9'8" 35' 8'5" 13 Front


2020 Gillig Low Floor 9'8" 35' 8'5" 13 Front


University Transit Service employs full-time and part-time non-student drivers. All drivers 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 new drivers can be trained one on one or in small groups throughout the semester, based on their schedule. All of the new driver training is performed by current UTS drivers who have been trained by existing trainers. Training is overseen by the Safety and Training Manager.

Supervisory Staff[edit]

Each year, new supervisors are chosen from current drivers who apply. 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.[10]

Supervisor Training[edit]

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 current supervisors. 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 $193 (as of the 2020–2021 academic year),[11] and UVA Health System funding.


  1. ^ Averette, Brittany. "Student Driven." The University of Virginia Magazine Spring 2006. Web. 4 Jan. 2012.
  2. ^ "University Transit Service - Fall 2020 | Parking and Transportation". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  3. ^ "University Transit Service - Fall 2020 | Parking and Transportation". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  4. ^ "University Transit Service | Parking and Transportation". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  5. ^ "Charter Bus Services | Parking and Transportation". Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  6. ^ The Economic Impact of the University of Virginia p.16]
  7. ^ University affiliate use of free Charlottesville Area Transit drops during 2018 fiscal year
  8. ^ "UVA Reconfigures Transportation Options in Face of COVID-19". UVA Today. 2020-07-23. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  9. ^ University Transit Service Fleet Manual. Mid-Fall 2020. Page 3-4
  10. ^ University Transit Service training manual, page 53
  11. ^ University of Virginia Components of Mandatory Fees