UT is overhauling the bus system that many students use to go from campus to campus. The
agreement was signed April 16 and will replace UT buses with the city wide transit agency –
The first TARTA buses will appear during the second summer semester session beginning June
25. They will be fully operational with all routes by the start of the fall semester, said James Gee,
TARTA General Manager.
“It really stemmed from the students, who wanted the greater connectivity with the rest of
Toledo,” Gee said.
UT students and faculty will be able to ride all TARTA routes for free during the school year
with their Rocket ID cards.
According to the contract, students will have no reductions in services, only various
enhancements, Gee said. One of which is additional routes from UT’s campus to the Toledo Art
“Since we’re more connected, now we have the ability to visit parts of Toledo that people from
out of state have never had the chance to see,” second-year international business and
professional sales major Darius Valdez said. “We’ll be able to take trips to the zoo, art museum
and Franklin Park Mall with much more ease and frequency.”
Student Government President Jimmy Russell agreed.
“One of the main reasons that we prioritized this is that we felt that if students have to live on
campus, they need a way to get out into the community if they didn’t have a car to experience all
of Toledo,” Russell said.
Student Government has advocated for the partnership with TARTA for about a year now and
are ecstatic an agreement has been reached, Russell said.
“We’re happy to be able to have pushed for such a monumental change on campus that’s going
to help so many students,” he said.
According to TARTA’s website, UT expects to save around $2 million dollars through the
contract with TARTA.
“We’re able to save UT money on purchasing vehicles because we have access to federal and
state grants for purchasing them,” Gee said.
He added that there are some redundant services, such as UT’s and TARTA’s individual routes
from campus to the Franklin Park Mall that will be consolidated to save money.
The contract will last for 10 years with two possible five-year extensions, but TARTA hopes to
continue its partnership with UT indefinitely, Gee said.
TARTA also plans to continue employing UT students as bus drivers, Gee said.
“We listened to our student leaders who asked us to expand bus services to enhance access to
off-campus experiences and we recognize the importance of UT being a leader in connecting to
the broader community,” said Larry Kelley, UT executive vice president for finance and
administration, and chief financial officer in a TARTA press release.