UI CAMBUS the week of March 21 CAMBUS is recognizing its drivers for their ongoing commitment to safe and reliable transportation. This year’s annual driver appreciation is also extended to alumni staff for their past service in recognition of the 50th year of service. Over 2,500 university students have been employed by CAMBUS since 1972. Student drivers collectively have provided a cumulative total of over 165 million rides to university students, staff, faculty, and visitors.

CAMBUS has become a cornerstone of campus access over the past 50 years. As the campus has grown and evolved, CAMBUS services have expanded and advanced in response to support the university’s mission. CAMBUS growth – including every new route and service – is thanks to student staff. Today, CAMBUS provides 3 million rides annually on 14 routes, employs 160 students, and has a fleet of 35 buses.

Over 165 million rides between 1972 and 2022

Students rising above recent challenges

This past year has been particularly difficult for CAMBUS student staff. Disruptions to service and staffing from the pandemic resulted in a staffing shortage of 20% going into the fall 2021 academic session. Increasing student staff is a long process due to the lengthy process of training and obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License.

In the face of this challenges, drivers and support staff have regularly gone above and beyond to provide the transportation services the university community relies upon. CAMBUS student employees provided 617,000 more rides in fall 2021 compared to fall 2020 despite similar staffing numbers.

1 million+ rides

provided fall 2021 on fixed-route services, an increase of 80% over fall 2020

2,600 rides

provided fall 2021 by Bionic Bus, an increase of 98% over fall 2020

60,000 rides

provided to support events including new student orientation and university athletics

CAMBUS beginnings

The service began in 1972 after students identified the need for a bus service that would better connect residence halls, especially west of the Iowa River, to the Pentacrest. Students spearheaded every aspect of starting the service – from securing funding and sourcing buses to creating routes and advertising the service. Funding and support were provided by the Associated Residence Halls, university student government, and President Sandy Boyd.

About Transit Operator Appreciation

Annually in March public transportation providers across America recognize transit operators for their service. Public transportation offers mobility and access to all and improves communities. Public Transportation is “a link to jobs and to opportunities; it connects people to schools and health care and to their communities and the people and places that are important to them,” writes the American Public Transportation Association.