Gainesville to celebrate 50 years of Regional Transit System service

City of Gainesville RTS bus
City of Gainesville

The city of Gainesville will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Regional Transit System (RTS) on Friday.

The event is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. at the RTS Administrative Building at 34 SE 13th Rd. RTS serves the Gainesville area and both the UF and SF college campuses. It started as a small private company in 1968.

According to a city of Gainesville press release, “In December 1973, the City and Alachua County entered into an interlocal agreement to create the Gainesville/Alachua County Regional Transportation Board, ensuring bus service continued while the county’s purchase of the transit company and its 16 buses was finalized. The Regional Transit System officially became a public asset in April 1974. The City assumed RTS operations in 1981.”

The RTS has 102 buses that transport riders along 39 routes and throughout the Gainesville Urbanized area. In the 2023 fiscal year, more than 5 million passenger trips were taken for an average of 380,000 per month. The UF ridership tallied 3.4 million trips along with 518,000 passengers with disabilities.

The event will feature activities for kids that include a mini-course on how to ride the bus.

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What an ironic photo. The Bus in the photo is displaying its out of service sign. Just today, the city released information that the University of Florida is planning on pulling back on its commitment to fund the bus service to UH students to the tune of 6.8 million dollars. According to the email I just received from the City, this is 50% of what they had been paying the city for free bus service to some students. To quote the email, “RTS would be forced to eliminate a number of buses and routes …” Ruh-Roh!