RTS announces new bus schedule

RTS Electric bus
Courtesy City of Gainesville

After two outreach meetings about route changes, the City of Gainesville’s Regional Transit System (RTS) will close five routes and begin service on one new route. Routes 2, 36, 40, 119 and 121 will be discontinued, and Route 52 from Jonesville to UF Health at Center Drive will begin service beginning August 21. 

RTS constantly re-evaluates the viability of its routes, watching for new developments that will require bus services and old routes that do not meet performance standards. 

RTS’s elimination of Route 40 from Hunters Crossing to The Hub may cause problems for some University of Florida (UF) students who relied on the route to get to campus. 

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According to Tom Idoyaga, transit community service specialist for RTS, Route 40 is being eliminated because it did not attract enough commuters to justify its existence. He said though Route 40’s riders are passionate about their bus route, there are not many of them. 

Idoyaga said that in the fall semester, RTS’s busiest time, Route 40 peaked at an average of 8.3 riders per hour. An RTS route must carry an average of at least 14 riders per hour to be considered viable. 

“Every semester, we have to look at our services and be good stewards with the money from our sponsors. This is one of the routes that’s just underperforming,” Idoyaga said. 

Idoyaga recommends Route 43, which passes by UF on University Avenue on its way from Shands to Santa Fe College. 

Route 36, which works in conjunction with Route 40, will also be eliminated. Routes 119 and 121 will discontinue because Family Housing has closed, reducing the need for buses to run in that area. Route 2 from Rosa Parks Transfer Station to NE Walmart Supercenter had the overall lowest ridership of all RTS’s routes, so it will close also. 

RTS will add one new route to its fall schedule, busing from Jonesville to UF Health at Center Drive. 

Other changes to start and end times of existing routes include: 

  • Route 3 will start at 6 a.m. at Rosa Parks Transfer Station (RPTS). Service will end at 7:55 p.m. at RPTS, with the segment to Robinson Heights eliminated. 
  • Route 9 will start at 6:46 a.m. instead of 6:35 a.m., services reduced by 6 hours. 
  • Route 11 will start at 6 a.m. at RPDS, and the segment north of NE 8th Ave – Duval Neighborhood will be eliminated, services reduced by one bus. 
  • Route 12 will start at 6:46 a.m. instead of 6:20 a.m.  
  • Route 13 will start at 6:51 a.m. instead of 6:36 a.m. 
  • Route 15 will start at 6 a.m. at RPTS.  
  • Route 16 will start at 6:47 a.m. instead of 6:13 a.m.  
  • Route 20 will start at 6 a.m. at Reitz Union, with trips starting at 6 and 6:15 a.m. at the Oaks Mall eliminated. 
  • Route 26 will start at 6 a.m. at RPTS, with the 8 p.m. trip eliminated. 
  • Route 34’s service will be reduced by one bus. 
  • Route 43 will start at 6:07 a.m. at UF Health and 6:10 a.m. at Santa Fe College 
  • Route 150 will start at 6:30 a.m. at Haile Plantation. 

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Historically there has been significant bus driver turnover at RTS. Are any of the cancellations due to a lack of drivers?

Joy Tully

Is there any chance for a Bus Service to start in HighSprings to Gainesville?