UF, GNV to extend transit contract for 6 months as talks continue 

RTS Electric bus
Courtesy City of Gainesville

The University of Florida and the city of Gainesville announced a six-month contract extension for transit services currently operated by the city’s Regional Transit System (RTS).  

The contract extension pauses concerns about a budget deficit in the middle of the Gainesville fiscal year along with concerns about reductions in service across the city.  

The extension will last until Jan. 1, 2025. In the following months, the city and university will “explore long-term methods of maintaining RTS bus service across the broader community while addressing the university’s specific needs.” 

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UF and Gainesville entered private talks earlier this year, but after a draft UF proposal and concerns within the city, Gainesville released the substance of the talks and condemned the proposal.  

In interviews and press releases, both sides said they were still at the table and willing to negotiate. City Manager Cynthia Curry and UF’s David Kratzer, senior vice president, started weekly meetings in April, resulting in the contract extension.  

“All involved agree on the importance of sustained access to bus service across the Gainesville Urbanized Area while talks continue,” the press release said. 

City officials criticized UF’s proposal for reducing the RTS budget by 25% and hampering transit service across the city, not just on campus. The city estimated that if the proposal went forward, it would need to cut 11 of its 39 bus routes, including all five campus routes.  

A Gainesville press conference and subsequent special meeting about RTS prompted students to speak against the UF proposal. Kratzer criticized the city’s meetings in a letter to Mayor Harvey Ward.  

“Press conferences and threats of closures are unnecessary and unhelpful,” Kratzer said in the letter.  

Currently, UF funds around 50% of the RTS budget. City officials said that’s a good deal since UF accounts for the majority of riders. However, UF asked for data behind why the university pays more per fare than the typical citizen. Ward said comparisons between what UF pays versus individual citizens are distractions from the real issue—the health of the entire transit system.  

RTS Income Breakdown  

  • Total: $28,578,237  
  • UF: 49.4%  
  • Federal and state grants: 28.7%  
  • Local gas tax: 8.2%  
  • Alachua County: 6.5%  
  • Santa Fe College: 2.9%  
  • Advertising: 2%  
  • City general fund: 1.5%  
  • Bus fares: 1.1% 

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So much for capitalism. Your article says only 1.1% comes from fares. The simple solution is to raise fares.