Campus Shuttle
Hybrid bus on Washington Avenue Mall, East Bank
ParentUniversity of Minnesota Parking and Transportation Services
Headquarters511 Washington Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
LocaleMinneapolis, Minnesota
Falcon Heights, Minnesota
Service areaUniversity of Minnesota
Service typeBus rapid transit
Paratransit
Routes5
Depots901 29th Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
OperatorFirst Transit

The University of Minnesota's Campus Shuttle is a zero-fare bus service operating on the University's Minneapolis and St. Paul (Falcon Heights) campuses. In 2009, the system carried more than 3.9 million riders,[1] making it the second-busiest transit system in Minnesota after the Twin Cities's primary provider Metro Transit. It outpaces all of the suburban transit providers in the Twin Cities, as well as providers in other metropolitan areas in the state. Duluth Transit Authority serving Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin is the state's third-busiest provider, while the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority ranks fourth.[2][3] The shuttles are operated under contract by First Transit through the University's Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) department.[4]


System description

There are five regular routes in the system. Additionally, the University operates paratransit services and offers a shuttle route during game days at TCF Bank Stadium.

Route number Route name Terminal Route description Notes
120 East Bank Circulator Fay Thompson Center for Environmental Management This route circles counter-clockwise through the East Bank campus.
121 Campus Connector St. Paul Student Center The route begins on St. Paul campus on Buford Avenue and along the edge of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds before entering the University of Minnesota Transitway. The route does not stop until TCF Bank Stadium, where it loops around the north end and continues west along 4th Street SE. The route turns south onto 15th Avenue to Washington Avenue bridge, where it continues to West Bank, looping over Washington Avenue on Cedar Avenue, and stopping at Blegen Hall for layover. This is the longest and busiest route in the system.
Blegen Hall The route departs Blegen Hall and crosses the Washington Avenue bridge, stopping at the Student Union before entering the Washington Avenue transit mall. The next stop is at TCF Bank Stadium on Oak Street, and then the route enters the University of Minnesota Transitway after a stop at Stadium Village station. The route runs along the edge of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and Buford Avenue before laying over at St. Paul Student Center.
122 University Avenue Circulator Carlson School of Management This route circles clockwise from the West Bank to the East Bank and back across the Mississippi River using the 10th Avenue Bridge, University Avenue, Washington Avenue Mall, and the Washington Avenue Bridge. During weeknights and weekends, the route is extended to Territorial and Frontier Residence Halls on East Bank and Middlebrook Hall on West Bank.
123 4th Street Circulator 19th Avenue Ramp This route circles counter-clockwise from West Bank to the East Bank across the Mississippi River using the Washington Avenue Bridge, Washington Avenue Mall, 4th Street SE, and the 10th Avenue Bridge. It is a directional pair to the University Avenue Circulator. In anticipation for the closure of the 10th Avenue Bridge in 2020, the route has been cut past 11th Avenue, using University Avenue, 15th Avenue, and Washington Avenue to return to West Bank.
124 St. Paul Campus Circulator St. Paul Student Center This route circles clockwise through the St. Paul campus.

The system started running hybrid-electric buses in 2008.[4] As of 2010, the system's fleet is primarily composed of hybrid buses. The system also uses a handful of Van Hool European-styled BRT buses leased from the corporation as to not violate the Surface Transportation Assistance Act, which requires transit vehicles to be built in the United States.

During the school year on regular weekdays, the shuttles operate with schedule-less service as often as every five minutes. In 2008, the system carried 3.55 million riders. Despite the fact that the shuttle service is free, it is comparatively inexpensive to operate: with an operating cost of $4.55 million in 2008, the operating subsidy was only $1.28 per passenger. For comparison, Metro Transit's busy METRO Blue Line required a subsidy of $1.44 that year, and that was with many riders paying $1.75 or more for a ride.[2]

In 2010, Parking and Transportation Services received the annual Transit System of the Year award from the Minnesota Public Transit Association.[1]

GopherTrip

GopherTrip is real-time information system that provides bus arrival information to assist in trip planning for the Campus Shuttle system. GopherTrip is available as a mobile app for iPhone and Android systems. Users can also text a stop number to 41411 and receive estimated arrival times for that stop. Certain stops on the system have audiovisual arrival boards. Since buses do not operate on schedules, merely time-points, the app has become useful for trip planning. At the beginning of the 2018 school year, buses were repainted to promote the GopherTrip service.

Audiovisual arrival boards are synced with NexTrip, Metro Transit's own real-time information service, and will announce and display only local buses who share stops. However, the app has no integration with Metro Transit's own app or offers information on any outside service. Sequentially, NexTrip cannot predict the arrival of Campus Shuttles.

References

  1. ^ a b Andre Eggert (September 20, 2010). "U transit system gains recognition". Minnesota Daily. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "2009 Transit System Performance Evaluation". Metropolitan Council. 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-05-19. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
  3. ^ Jeremy Mattson (June 2008). "Effects of Rising Gas Prices on Bus Ridership for Small Urban and Rural Transit Systems" (PDF). Small Urban and Rural Transit Center, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, North Dakota State University. p. 7. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Brianna Bierschbach (November 23, 2008). "U receiving 16 new buses". Minnesota Daily. Retrieved October 1, 2010.