A guide to transportation around Grounds

How to get to class and beyond for incoming students

Students most often use the University Transit Service, or UTS, which is the bus network run by the University. Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

This fall, the University will welcome more than 4,000 new students to Grounds — most of whom will be learning how to navigate a college campus for the first time. There are a number of transit services that can get students where they need to go, whether to class, the Corner or to the Downtown Mall — these include the University Transit Service, Safe Ride and the Charlottesville Area Transit bus system.

Students most often use the University Transit Service, or UTS, which is the bus network run by the University, for getting around Grounds.

The UTS Northline stops at most on-Grounds housing areas — including all of the first-year dormitories — as well as John Paul Jones Arena and the Barracks Road Shopping Center.

The University Loop runs in two directions — the Inner and Outer Loop —  which services the Alderman Road dormitories, McCormick Road dormitories, Rugby Road and most of Jefferson Park Avenue. Along JPA are the Elson Student Health Center, language houses, Nau Hall and off-Grounds apartments which house many upperclassmen.

UTS arrives at stops every 10 minutes on weekdays, and every 20 minutes on weekends. During extended late night service — Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights — the Northline and the Outer U-Loop continue until 2:30 in the morning.

Rebecca White, the University’s Parking and Transportation Director, said in an email to The Cavalier Daily that there are challenges in operating a large University transportation system in between classes.

“A few things are inherently challenging like balancing the resources needed to move students during class change versus moving students from adjacent neighborhoods (JPA, Rugby/Grady/14th) and trying to meet the dynamic needs of students that span all day, evening, and late night across about 4 square miles,” she said.

To minimize wait times, uva.transloc.com and the Transloc Rider mobile app provide real-time locations and arrival estimates for all UTS buses. Students are encouraged to download the app to help locate the nearest bus to get around Grounds.

White added that eight new UTS buses will be introduced to the transit fleet this fall. The new buses boast the same blue and white colors as the old buses, but will have new branding.

Each new bus cost the University $404,836 and the bus system is primarily funded by a comprehensive student fee, according to White.

Safe Ride, which is managed by University Parking and Transportation, offers a free on-demand van shuttle service for students to get home after UTS has gone out of service. The shuttle runs from 12:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 2:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Ride requests can be made through the Transloc Rider app or online. Wait times can vary up to 15 minutes for a Safe Ride van.

For trips beyond Grounds, Charlottesville Area Transit provides transportation for students to go just about anywhere within the city limits — such as the Downtown Mall, where students will find entertainment, movie theaters, dining and shopping.

The Free Trolley is the most visible of the CAT buses for students — making a loop down Jefferson Park Avenue and around Grounds before returning to the downtown station. It stops at Scott Stadium, the Aquatic and Fitness Center, Central Grounds and the Corner.

Other popular CAT routes include Route 7 — which is accessible from the University Hospital stop on JPA and can get students to Barracks or Fashion Square Mall — and Route 5, which stops at Fashion Square, Barracks and Wal-Mart.

Students, faculty and staff can ride any CAT bus for free with a scan of their University ID.

Students can download the CAT app to find their way around the Charlottesville area. CAT operates on a regular schedule Monday through Saturday, with the Trolley also running on Sunday.

UTS and CAT will be operating during summer orientation for students to become familiar with the University’s transportation services before coming to Grounds this fall. In addition to students, parents can also ride the UTS for free.

related stories