The Gainesville Regional Transit System will have some service changes in spring 2014. The bus system will alter the frequency and service hours for some existing routes and add three new routes.
- Route 2 will now run every 30 minutes and will begin service at 5:32 a.m.
- Route 6 weekday service will begin at 5:40 a.m.
- Route 11 weekday service will begin at 5:30 a.m.
- Route 13 will be changing its peak timing to maintain 10-minute frequencies in the afternoon
- Route 14 weekday service will begin at 5:30 a.m.
- Route 24 will run every 30 minutes and begin service at 5:30 a.m.
- Route 27 added four hours to its service, which now ends at 3:10 p.m.
- Route 35 weekday service will begin at 6:30 a.m.
- Route 125 added an extra afternoon trip, so service will now end at 5:50 p.m.
- Route 9 will decrease its frequency after 11:00 p.m. to 40 minutes
- Routes 16/17 will decrease frequency after 8:00 p.m. to 60 minutes
- Route 25 will decrease frequency to 75 minutes on weekends
- Route 28 will decrease its frequency by one minute to every 16 minutes
- Route 35 will decrease its frequency after 11:00 p.m. to 45 minutes
- Route 41 will increase round trip time to 65 minutes in the morning and 70 minutes in the afternoon
Chip Skinner, marketing and communications supervisor for RTS, said these improvements can help provide service to people in certain areas. For example, route 24, which runs to the Gainesville Job Corps Center in North Gainesville, will be easier to ride with a higher route frequency.
Skinner said the busses use automatic passenger counters, also known as APCs, to calculate ridership.
“We have about 25 busses in our fleet that are equipped with those,” he said. “We can put them out on a route and get GPS data from bus stops from when they were used, and it’s just an infrared beam.”
Skinner said analysts use the data to determine where the routes are being used more or less frequently.
Along with these route changes, RTS will add three new routes in the spring to help previously underserved areas: route 38T, 77 and 128.
He said the original route 38 was leaving people behind, especially at the Bartram apartments. This is why the 38T was added to the schedule.
“The ‘T’ stands for tripper bus, so we can get them to class and work,” Skinner said.
Santa Fe students will be able to commute on the 77 as an express route from Cabana Beach, through Oaks Mall and I-75 to Sante Fe.
University of Florida students will now have a way to enjoy a weekend at Lake Wauburg with the return of the 128.
“The 128, which is the Lake Wauburg shuttle, was requested by UF students,” Skinner said. “We’ve had it in the past, but it had very limited ridership, so it fell on the wayside. But we’re trying it again to see how it goes.”
Joseph Tringali, a University of Florida student, was excited to hear about the changes. He said he feels the lack of transportation was the biggest thing getting in the way of students trying to get to Lake Wauburg, especially when they do not have a car.
“That’s the main reason a lot of kids don’t get out there,” he said. “It’s because it’s kind of a pain to find a ride. I know because that’s what happened to me.”
Skinner said RTS encourages constructive feedback from its riders, as public meetings are sparsely attended.
RTS can be contacted with feedback and suggestions over the phone, email or its website.