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University Transit System changes bus stop signs, route names

A shuttle connecting Central Grounds to the U.Va. research park is another new transit-related initiative

<p>The long-term goal of UTS is to rename all bus routes with color-related names, for instance, the former Colonnade Shuttle is now the Purple Route.</p>

The long-term goal of UTS is to rename all bus routes with color-related names, for instance, the former Colonnade Shuttle is now the Purple Route.

The University Transit System underwent a number of changes at the start of the 2018-19 academic year. Among the changes are updated bus stop signage — which include scannable QR codes — as well as new names for routes around Grounds.

Three UTS bus routes now have new names. The former Colonnade Shuttle is now the Purple Route, which primarily connects Central Grounds with University Heights apartments, the Law School and the Darden School of Business. The former Green Route is called the Blue Line, which connects parking lots at University Hall and John Paul Jones Arena to the University Health System. The Stadium Hospital Shuttle is now the Red Line, which links the Scott Stadium parking lot to the University Health System. 

Rebecca White, University Director of Parking and Transportation, said the Green Route and the Stadium Hospital Shuttle routes were renamed in order to facilitate a seamless transit experience linking route riders’ parking situations and the riders’ routes of choice. For instance, blue permits are purchased for parking at U-Hall or JPJ which are accessed by the now-blue route and red permits are for Scott Stadium, accessed by the red route.

The majority of riders on both routes are employees of the University’s health system, White said.

White said a long-term goal for UTS is to rename all bus routes with color-related names. This will take place beginning with the next academic year and help create uniform route names, maps and supplemental materials for UTS riders.

White said the change did not fully take place this academic year because the reuse of the color green — the former name of the blue line — would create confusion for riders. 

UTS’ goal of making transit more user-friendly and uniform throughout Grounds was one of the main reasons why signage at UTS bus stops around Grounds is being changed throughout the first week of classes. 

The deep blue color of the new signs matches the color of UTS buses, and each sign now provides a list of which routes service each bus stop. Additionally, each sign features a QR code which riders can scan with their cell phone. The code sends riders to the Transloc app, which depicts arrival times and locations for each UTS bus that is in service at the time. 

Another recent transportation initiative at the University is the arrival of the Park Connect shuttle service. The service falls under the University of Virginia Foundation, which provides real estate and financial services for U.Va.

Park Connect is a shuttle bus service connecting the U.Va. Research Park — located 20 minutes north of the University near the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport and not previously accessible via public transportation — with the University’s Central Grounds. Service is on weekdays every 30 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and currently stops at three locations — Jefferson Park Avenue at Ruppel Drive, the U.Va. Research Park and Rivanna Station, a research site close to the Research Park.

In a press release, Deborah van Eersel, the foundation’s chief administrative officer, said the service was implemented in partnership with JAUNT — a regional public transportation network — “to connect UVA students without cars to internships/jobs with our corporate tenants, UVA faculty and staff who have business both in the Park and on Grounds, and federal contractors/Park tenants with employees working at Rivanna Station.”

In a separate email to The Cavalier Daily, van Eersel said Park Connect service is free to riders and subsidized by the Foundation, with both faculty members and students alike expressing interest in the free transit system. 

The Foundation plans to run Park Connect as a two-year trial program. If proven successful, the service will be extended to connect the current stops with downtown Charlottesville.

“The service is being approached as a two year pilot,” van Eersel said. “If successful, it is our hope that regular bus service would be extended to the UVA Research Park from UVA and downtown.”

The University is also updating its Parking and Transportation Plan and hosting focus groups, open houses and an online comment portal to seek community suggestions on how best to improve parking and transit on and around Grounds over the next 10 year. More information about the open houses and focus groups can be found here and an online survey is available at this link