Ridership has increased this fall by 55 percent over the same period last year.
That’s an increase of 96,078 passengers, primarily students. More than 269,700 passengers have used the new buses since July 1.
Campus officials say students are demonstrating their satisfaction with the new T buses, which began serving campus this summer.
“The increase in ridership this semester is due to two factors,” said Mark Hairr, director of Parking and Transit Services. “The visibility of the buses is more prominent due to the distinct look of the vehicles. With UT’s branding on the buses, you can’t miss them.”
The new fleet is operated by First Transit and includes twenty vehicles sporting a Big Orange checkerboard and mascot Smokey.
“The second factor is the technology being used on the buses,” Hairr continued. “The fact that students can track the running buses’ locations through GPS tracking on the UT mobile app makes it much easier for them to catch the bus.”
The new buses are also equipped with USB charging stations and bicycle racks. Each bus runs on the highest level of biodiesel fuel, which has resulted in decreased emissions over the previous fleet.
“The Neyland Express route has seen the largest surge in ridership, due in part to the additional students now living in Sorority Village,” Hairr said. “Use of the T Access and Late Nite routes has also increased significantly.”
“The increased number of riders on the buses within the same number of service hours also indicates the significant improvement in the efficiency of service,” added Hairr.
UT transitioned to a private vendor this year to provide more flexibility in route adjustments and an additional level of service to riders.
The T services the UT campus and portions of the Fort Sanders neighborhood with four fixed routes and two on-demand routes.
The Hill, Fort, and Neyland Express routes run Monday through Friday, and the Late Nite route runs seven days a week.
For more information, visit the T’s website.
C O N T A C T :
Katherine Saxon (865-974-8365, firstname.lastname@example.org)