T bus ridership on UT campus reaches all-time high

T bus ridership on UT campus reaches all-time high

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University of Tennessee officials say ridership aboard the T Transit System has reached an all-time high this semester. (source: University of Tennessee) University of Tennessee officials say ridership aboard the T Transit System has reached an all-time high this semester. (source: University of Tennessee)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - University of Tennessee officials say ridership aboard the T Transit System has reached an all-time high this semester.

They say ridership has increased by 55 percent over the same period last year, which amounts to an increase of 96,078 passengers primarily students.

More than 369,700 passengers have used the new buses since July 1.

"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 20 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 also have USB charging stations and bike racks. Each bus runs on the highest level of biodiesel fuel, which has resulted in decreased emissions over the previous fleet.

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 serves the UT campus and parts of the Fort Sanders neighborhood with four fixed routes and two on-demand routes. 

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