Riding the Bus in Gainesville

Riding the Bus in Gainesville 3 minutes 0
Riding the Bus in Gainesville

Image by João Jesus is licensed under the Pexels License

Getting around Gainesville may seem like a daunting task at first, but thankfully the Gainesville Regional Transit System (RTS) makes it a breeze. With almost fifty routes, RTS buses will definitely get you where you need to go.

Bus Fares and Passes

University of Florida students, faculty, staff, and retirees, as well as Santa Fe College students, faculty, staff, and retirees, may ride the bus for free by simply showing the driver their school IDs (Gator 1 or Santa Fe ID cards). All City General Government and GRU employees ride fixed-route service with no fee required by simply showing their employee photo ID badge. Shands employees also ride free, fixed-route service by showing their employee Gator 1 photo ID badge. ADA certified individuals also ride free and will be accommodated on their RTS ride accordingly.

RTS offers a variety of bus passes for all your riding needs. You can purchase an all-day pass from your bus driver or just pay in cash to ride; the fare for a regular adult is $1. Alternatively, you can order a monthly pass in the mail, or purchase any kind from the Rosa Parks RTS Downtown Station (located at 700 SE 3rd St.)

The App

The TransLoc Rider App, available through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, is the perfect way to organize and schedule your trips. Once you download the app and put in your location, you’re ready to view the nearby bus routes. The app will show you a map of Gainesville with location pins on different bus stops.The Transloc Rider App is invaluable for getting around Gainesville.

If you tap on a pin, it’ll display the buses that stop there, as well as the estimated time of arrival for the next three buses. This is especially convenient when you’re getting ready for class in the mornings -- you’ll know you have exactly 11 minutes before you run to the bus with your ID in hand.

The Routes

There are quite a few bus routes, so there’s usually more than one way of getting somewhere. Getting from one side of town to the other will probably require two bus trips, depending on how far you are. Here are some of the most useful bus routes, in terms of getting around the main parts of Gainesville -- that means, Downtown, UF campus, The Oaks Mall, and Butler Plaza.

1- Rosa Parks Downtown Station to Butler Plaza
5 - Rosa Parks Downtown Station to The Oaks Mall
9 - Reitz Union to Hunter’s Run
12 - Reitz Union to Butler Plaza Travel Station
13 - Beaty Towers to Cottage Grove Apartments
16 - Beaty Towers to Sugar Hill
20 - Reitz Union to The Oaks Mall
34 - The Hub to Lexington Crossing
35 - Reitz Union to SW 35th St
38 - The Hub to Gainesville Place
43 - Shands to Santa Fe
62 - The Oaks Mall to Lexington Crossing
75 - The Oaks Mall to Butler Plaza
77 - Santa Fe to Cabana Beach Apartments
117 - Reitz Union to Park and Ride #2
118 - The Hub to UF Cultural Plaza
119 - The Hub to Family Housing
120 - The Hub to Fraternity Row
121 - The Hub to Commuter Lot
125 - The Hub to Lakeside
126 - Sorority Row to Lakeside
127 - East Circulator

The RTS website has a full list of city routes and campus routes along with corresponding maps. You can also view a real-time RTS bus tracking map here or a thorough breakdown of the routes here.

Rider Rules

  • Take all your belongings and report any suspicious packages or activity to the driver
  • Always be at the bus stop at least five minutes before your bus’ scheduled arrival. Make sure to use your Rider App to keep track of buses’ ETAs.
  • No pets are allowed on RTS buses unless they are in a carrier. Service animals are allowed.
  • As the bus approaches your destination, pull the cord or press the bar located above the windows. This will notify the driver that you are approaching your stop. Try to do this about one block before your destination so the driver can make a smooth stop.
  • You should enter through the front of the bus and exit through the rear.
  • On each bus, you’ll notice several seats near the front designated for use by the elderly and people with disabilities. As a courtesy, please keep these seats open for those who might need them.
  • If you’re bringing a bike with you, make sure to secure it properly to the front of the bus and let your driver know you’re going to retrieve it when you’re getting off the bus.
  • For more rules and regulations regarding RTS bus rides, visit this page.

What It’s Like

Riding the bus is one of the most common forms of transportation in Gainesville. You can expect to see popular bus routes packed with students on any given weekday, either rushing to class or on their ways home. RTS does a good job of keeping buses relatively clean, so riders should do their best to maintain them.

One of the essential rider rules would be that of arriving at the bus stop early. The Transloc App is pretty accurate, but it can definitely be off sometimes. With discrepancies in predicted arrival times and unforeseen traffic jams, it’s easy to miss a bus or spend a long time waiting for it. However, if you plan your trip carefully, riding the bus can be extremely convenient. Not only does it get you around, but if you're a student, it's also free.

Jaleesa Bustamante