KNOXVILLE — Another year of record ridership has brought a number of changes to the “T” transit system at the University of Tennessee.
This new semester will bring additional hours on the popular Ag Express route, and a doubling of the number of buses on the Off-Campus Housing route each morning.
“The success of the ‘T’ service has certainly exceeded every expectation we set out for it in the early stages,” said Jeff Maples, UT senior associate vice chancellor for administration.
Ridership on all of the “T” lines last year topped 1.1 million total riders, an increase of nearly 9 percent over 2004-2005, the first year that all current lines were in service. In its inaugural year in 2003, ridership was about 800,000, with fewer lines available for use by students.
The Ag Express route shuttles students directly from the “T” transfer stop located next to Neyland Stadium to the heart of the Institute of Agriculture’s campus. An extra hour of service will be added in the morning and afternoon this fall, bringing the hours to 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Buses run every five minutes.
Ridership on the Ag Express has increased 83 percent since its inception to more than 74,000 riders annually.
The Off-Campus Housing route runs from the main campus to Sutherland Avenue and the Golf Range Apartments. The number of buses on the route will be doubled between 7 and 10 a.m., with buses running every 20 minutes during that time.
Ridership on the Off-Campus Housing route is up nearly 20 percent since it began, with more than 119,000 riders last year.
In addition to the daytime routes, the “T” offers two after-hours options for campus transit riders. The Late Night route makes a loop throughout campus and the Fort Sanders from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights, and till 3:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The T:Link, which runs at night, allows students, faculty and staff to call for a ride directly from their location to either their campus destination or the nearest stop on the Late Night route. It operates from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day. These services provide a vital safety tool for members of the campus community working or studying at night.
As a result of the significantly increased use on the “T,” the transportation fee charged to students increased by $10 per semester for the coming academic year. This marks the first increase since the inception of the “T.”
The “T” service is a partnership between UT and Knoxville Area Transit, which operates the buses.
Schedules, route maps and more information about the “T” are available online at www.ridethet.com.
Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409, firstname.lastname@example.org)