Taking a moment to say "Thank You" on Transit Employee Appreciation Day

Taking a moment to say 'Thank You'

The week of March 18, 2024, UI CAMBUS is recognizing its student employees for their commitment to providing safe and reliable transportation. CAMBUS student drivers and student support staff over the past year continued to excel, innovate, and take on new challenges to deliver exceptional service to campus. 

With an average of 12,000 riders on academic weekdays, CAMBUS student drivers maintained their commitment to campus accessibility and road safety. Many riders reached out to commend student drivers who went above and beyond to ease their daily commutes.   

Please thank the morning driver, Alyson H. She ALWAYS has a warm smile, and says 'hello'. Today, at the library stop she invited me to use the front door when exiting because there’s a big pile of snow in front of where the back door would unload. She always brightens my early morning rides to the office and it’s very appreciated.

- CAMBUS rider, Jan. 23, 2024

Staff efforts to serve the UI community

CAMBUS student and full-time staff have been busy over the past year. Notable accomplishments include implementing improved technology, overcoming a staffing shortage, and expansion of the new driver training program.

Staff efforts to serve the UI community

Benefits to the community:

  • Improved live location and prediction accuracy in the Transit rider app
  • Improved reporting for dispatch to troubleshoot service issues

Key CAMBUS staff involved:

  • Management team
  • Maintenance team

Benefits to the community:

  • Bionic riders can now use an app to schedule, cancel, and view their rides
  • Bionic riders can receive alerts about their trip, including confirmation of ride details and real-time ETAs
  • The scheduling platform optimizes ride schedules to maximize the efficiency of rides

Key CAMBUS staff involved:

  • Bionic bus supervisor
  • Dispatch supervisor
  • Student dispatch team

Benefits to the community:

  • Restored temporary service reductions made in fall 2023
  • Ability to be more responsive to transit demand around campus

Key CAMBUS staff involved:

  • Full-time and student training teams
  • Student personnel and staffing supervisors

Benefits to the community:

  • Ability to train more drivers concurrently
  • CAMBUS can now provide CDL training and testing to local transit providers

Key CAMBUS staff involved:

  • Management staff
  • Full-time training staff

Benefits to the community:

  • Ensure students, staff, and visitors have transportation to on-campus events, including new student orientation activities, athletic events, and other campus events

Key CAMBUS staff involved:

  • Student drivers
  • Student scheduling supervisor
  • Student dispatching team

Benefits to the community:

  • Ensured students, staff, faculty, and visitors have a more accessible campus experience, connecting riders to class, work, research, appointments, events, and more

Key CAMBUS staff involved:

  • Student drivers
  • All CAMBUS staff

“Greatly appreciated waiting for all [passengers] individually to get on the bus, especially because of the snow and ice on the sidewalks. The driver waited for at least a couple of minutes to ensure that everyone who needed a ride got one!”

-College of Nursing staff for Kyle Safley, Jan. 10, 2024

Student cambus driver Rachel Woodley posing on bus.

Rachel Woodley

student staffing supervisor

"The most rewarding aspect of my job at CAMBUS is seeing all the people we impact in the community with our service and the many people we help get to their destination."

Kyle Safley standing on rocks near water

Kyle Safley

student dispatcher

"I've met so many people and made a lot of new friends that I see walking and driving the bus around campus."

Cameron McKnight standing in front of red route at WCTC

Cameron McKnight

student bionic bus supervisor

"CAMBUS has given me the ability to meet and foster relationships with so many people from different walks of life that are truly grateful for the service we offer.”

CAMBUS service in 2023


million rides


Bionic bus rides


miles of service


hours of service

CAMBUS evolving: adding a new student position

Last fall, CAMBUS created a new position called demand-response drivers (DRD). The new DRD position operates minibus vehicles in the CAMBUS fleet and provides service for Bionic Bus and on-demand services. Creating this position has helped CAMBUS quickly fill gaps in its staff and better meet the growing number of rides on Bionic service.

Students hired for the DRD position are not required to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL) because they operate non-CDL vehicles. Training takes about three weeks compared to the eight weeks for the transit coach operator position that requires CDL licensing.

The new position has been a success. We have had a lot of interest and completed training with several DRD's. Some are now even working towards earning their CDL.”  say Mia Brunelli, CAMBUS operations manager. 

Driver standing with bionic bus in front of old capitol building

“Chen picked me up yesterday and the minute I got on the bus he introduced himself and that he would be my driver. I thought this was very informative. He was very friendly and helpful.”

- Bionic bus rider for Chen-You Wu, Aug. 31, 2023

Awards and recognition

Several student employees were recognized at CAMBUS over the past year for their contributions to the organization. Recognition included:

  • 10 CAMBUS scholarship recipients
  • Driver of the Year and Support Person of the Year
  • Top placing at local and state IPTA roadeo
cambus trainer, christian brandt, posing on bus

Christian Brandt

student trainer

"As a trainer it’s so rewarding to watch someone transform from being terrified of driving a bus, to being a very skilled and professional CAMBUS employee. It’s been gratifying being a part of that process at CAMBUS for the past two years."

Mili Molina poses for a picture

Mili Molina

student dispatcher

"Working at CAMBUS has really improved my overall experience at the University of Iowa. As a dispatcher, I love being able to help drivers and passengers with any questions they have."

Student mechanic, Matt Matthew, posing with cambus

Matt Mathew

student maintenance supervisor

"Working at CAMBUS creates a story unlike your normal college student. It’s not everyday you get the opportunity to tell someone you drove a bus in college, let alone got to work on them. It’s an experience I’ll talk about for a lifetime."

About Transit Employee Appreciation Day

Transit Employee Appreciation Day is celebrated each year to thank public bus and rail employees for their service. The date of March 18 was selected to commemorate the first form of modern public transportation in Paris in 1662. The day is celebrated across the U.S at public transportation agencies. 


CAMBUS consists of 160 student employees that operate the transportation system.  All bus operator positions are held by UI students. Students may also earn promotions to positions in dispatching, training, maintenance, and supervision. The CAMBUS student teams are supported by full-time staff: two managers, three training supervisors, a maintenance supervisor, and six maintenance technicians.

Support CAMBUS student employees today!

Want to support CAMBUS student employees? Donate to the CAMBUS scholarship program or show your love by recognizing a student employee. Each year CAMBUS chooses 10 student employees to award scholarships. Learn more about the scholarship program and contribute a donation.