Post Updated on 10/14/15
Bull Runner website link has been updated, a link to the current Bull Runner system map has been added, and the bus fleet paragraph has been updated to include the 30-foot Gillig Low Floor buses.
Today’s post could not come at a perfect time, as I am preparing to graduate from the University of South Florida with my B.S. in Business Administration, with a focus in Marketing. 😀
During the month of July, I had an opportunity to tag along with former HART bus driver Jason Eames and local transit nerd Zac Ziegler as we stepped aboard the Bull Runner, which is the university owned and operated campus transit system. Jason previously worked with the USF Bull Runner system before coming to HART. Although my meeting with them was somewhat brief, it was definitely great to be able to meet them face to face at last as we rode on the Bull Runner Route C.
Unlike some universities, which rely on their municipal transit districts to provide on-campus public transit, USF has provided their own transit system for several years now. They even have their own bus fleet, which comprises of several Startrans and Glaval minibuses, several 30-foot Blue Bird and Thomas-Dennis buses, and several Gillig Low Floor 30 and 40-foot buses.
The USF Bull Runner system comprises of six routes; three of them travel to various off-campus destinations, such as apartment complexes where USF students reside.
- Route A: Campus Green Loop (serves many major points within the USF campus, including the Marshall Student Center, in a counter-clockwise direction)
- Route B: USF Health Line (serves the USF Health area of the campus)
- Route C: Off-Campus North Line (serves various apartment complexes to the north of the campus)
- Route D: Off-Campus West Line (serves University Mall, HART’s University Area Transit Center, and various apartment complexes to the west of the campus)
- Route E: Campus Gold Loop (serves many major points within the USF campus, including the Marshall Student Center, in a clockwise direction)
- Route F: Off-Campus South Line (serves MOSI, Busch Gardens/Adventure Island, and various apartment complexes to the east and south of the campus)
View a current map of the Bull Runner system (last updated for the Fall 2015 semester).
Although the buses I mentioned above can be assigned to any of the six routes at any given time, the Gillig Low Floor buses are usually assigned to Route C, due to it seeing the highest ridership of all of the routes. Route C is also the most congested of the six routes during peak times of the fall and spring semester, which is usually between the hours of 9am and 3pm, Monday through Thursday, when most students tend to take their classes.
To use the USF Bull Runner; you must be a USF Student, Faculty, or Staff member with a USF ID card. Visitors may purchase a daily visitor bus pass.
Pretty much from the very first day of me having classes at USF, I used the Bull Runner to help me get around campus. There are several reasons why I frequently use the system:
- Parking: The USF Tampa Campus is very well-known for its parking troubles during the fall and spring semesters. Finding a parking space can be nearly impossible unless you happen to park in Lot #18B, which is located adjacent to 50th Street and tends to always have parking spaces available no matter what. Thus this lot is designated as a “Park-n-Ride” lot for the Bull Runner system. You can park in Lot 18B and use Routes A or E to get to the main portions of the campus.
- Cost Savings: As a USF student, I have been able to use the Bull Runner at no additional cost to me (though students actually pay for the service through tuition and fees). Plus I was able to save a lot of money on an annual parking permit. USF has several types of parking permits, but the normal student permits can cost over $100.00 per semester. However, USF provides a “Park-n-Ride” or “Y” permit at a fraction of the cost of a regular student parking permit. The “Y” permit allows students to park at either Lot 18B or Lot 43 and use the Bull Runner to get around campus. Let’s not forget the savings on gas too!
- Getting around during inclement weather: Although it is always best to remain indoors during stormy weather, there are situations where you are trying to get to class and it starts raining. Depending where you are on campus, it could be a very long walk from your car to your classroom. Thus, the Bull Runner can come in handy when traveling long distances in the rain.
- Easy access to the HART bus system: All of the Bull Runner routes connect to at least one HART local bus route, which makes it very easy for students to leave campus without driving. Plus, with an active USF ID card, students get to ride the HART system at no cost thanks to an agreement between USF and HART, which began in 2005. USF faculty & staff members can also use the HART system, but at a discounted fare. The following HART bus routes connect to the Bull Runner system: 5, 6 Local, 6 Limited (LTD), 18, and 57. Plus, with connections to HART’s University Area Transit Center via the Bull Runner Route D, you also have close connections to HART bus routes 1, 2, 9, 12, and 45 as well. In recent years; popularity for this program has grown, so thus the agreement will remain in place for quite some time. USF students can also use the HARTflex system, in addition to local and limited express routes, and the In-Town Trolley.
Hours of operation can vary for the Bull Runner system, and there is no service on most major holidays. So be sure to check the Bull Runner website for the latest hours, plus maps, and other information. There is also a real-time bus tracking and predicted arrival times system called Bull Tracker, which can also be accessed from the site. You can also view estimated arrival times at selected points throughout the USF campus, such as the Marshall Student Center. Currently, there is an ongoing effort to equip all of the Bull Runner buses with automated stop announcements, which I think is pretty neat. I will profile this concept in a future post.
With all this said, I will truly miss using the USF Bull Runner. I think it is definitely a good campus bus system and I believe that in the future, the system can be further enhanced to better serve the USF population.
To all my fellow bulls reading this post…GO BULLS! 😀