CTS to extend free bus rides to members of U.Va. community

The Charlottesville Transit System is introducing several changes to improve Charlottesville's public transportation routes and services, including a decision to allow members of the University to ride CTS buses at no charge and yesterday's opening of a new downtown transit station.

According to Charlottesville Transit Service Manager Bill Watterson, "because congestion has grown, the CTS routes have experienced delays and unnecessary duplicate routes." These changes come in compliance with a transit report published last August that enumerates several suggestions to improve the public transportation system for Charlottesville residents.

The report included a suggestion to eliminate the free trolley routes along McCormick and Alderman Roads. The trolley would have been re-routed to Barracks Road via JPA and Emmet Street. That proposal, however, was not approved, Watterson said.

Watterson noted one change that will "impact students in a positive way." Starting April 2, CTS buses will be available free of charge to any University student, employee or staff member with a valid photo ID. Previously, a 75 cent fare applied to all CTS services, with the exception of the free trolley.

The city also opened a new downtown transit station yesterday on 615 E. Water St., replacing the former transfer sites on 2nd Street. This will allow for new routes to provide services to neighborhoods formerly without service.

As of yesterday, several CTS lines also have new designations, which will signify slight changes in routes. In addition, Route 2 will no longer provide service from the downtown area to Barracks Road Shopping Center. CTS will continue to provide service between the downtown area and Barracks Road through Route 7.

According to Evelyn Trice, supervisor at CTS, the only CTS-run transportation that goes through the University is the free trolley, which will continue its normal service.

"Nothing on Grounds will change, other than the fact that students will have another stop downtown to catch the trolley," Trice said.

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