Going the Distance--Cambus has been crisscrossing campus

At least one thing has remained constant on the University of Iowa campus over the past 40 years, and that’s Cambus. While the looks of the fleet may have evolved from one decade to the next, the mission of the student-operated transit system remains: to provide convenient, no-fare service to members of the UI community.

The large yellow buses are a frequent and everyday sight at the UI, whether one is on the east or west side of the river or at University Research Park to the north or the Studio Arts building to the south. In fact, the university created the transit system in January of 1972 at the request of several student groups—in part, to help students cross the Iowa River during the bone-chilling Midwest winters.

Back then, only three options were available to riders: the Red Route, the Blue Route, or the Interdorm. Now, there are 18 regular routes, including a late-night Safe Ride service. Riders today also enjoy many more conveniences, including Wi-Fi Internet access and Bongo, a real-time information system that allows potential passengers to access arrival times online or through smartphones.

Ridership continues to grow. In fiscal year 2011, Cambus set a new ridership record with 4.065 million passenger boardings, and daily rides often surpass 20,000 during the academic year. Although a full-time staff includes a manager, maintenance supervisor, and transit technicians, the transit system primarily is operated by the nearly 160 students who serve as drivers, support staff, and supervisors.

To learn more about Cambus and see today’s fleet, check out the short video above.

video by University Communication and Marketing

Shown on the Spectator home page is a 1978 photo of a Cambus stopped along
Clinton Street near the Pentacrest.

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© The University of Iowa 2009