December 13, 2012

Regional Transportation Authority and VanStar add bus and van service direct to Vanderbilt from Williamson County park-and-ride

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) has started direct-to-Vanderbilt bus service from park and ride lots in Franklin and Brentwood, the first time that Vanderbilt commuters have not been required to pass through downtown Nashville before arriving at work in the morning or returning home in the evening.

The bus (designated 91X) arrives at Vanderbilt at 7:25 a.m. and departs at 5:15 p.m. For details, see http://www.rtarelaxandride.com/PDF/2012EnglishRoutes/NAS_LFT_Rt091X_SM_WEB.pdf and additional information below.

Also, beginning Jan. 7, 2013, VanStar (a vanpool management agency under contract with RTA) will add three 15-passenger vans on a staggered schedule which will complement that of the bus. This will provide commuters more  time options in both directions, either by bus, van or a combination.

Here’s how it will work.

VanStar will establish three vanpools that will follow the bus route, but for the first time, approximately half of the seats will be set aside for occasional riders. Although details are still being worked out, all available van seats will be reserved online, either as a standing reservation or on an occasional basis. Riders can mix or match arrival and departure times to fit each day’s schedule and do so right up until boarding time. A custom developed phone app is being developed to facilitate these last minute scheduling decisions.

Van Schedules: Van morning arrivals at VUMC will be: 5:45 a.m., 6:15 a.m. and 6:45 a.m. Afternoon departure times are: 3:15 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Van Stops: The van stop location at VUMC is at the corner of 21st Avenue North and Pierce Avenue (a half block from the RTA bus stop at 21st and Children’s Way). The Franklin park and ride lot is at the Williamson Square Kroger and the Brentwood lot is at Civitan Ball Park (same as the RTA bus stops).

Van Fares: Fares for occassional van trips will be equal to or less than the $4 one way charge for an RTA bus ride. The exact pricing of fares will be determined by ridership demand, which is presently being surveyed. Regular (every day) vanpool riders will pay a monthly fee based on the VanStar Vanpool formula, which will also be subject to ridership numbers. See www.vanstar.com for details.


VanStar and VUMC need feedback from Vanderbilt employees residing in the Franklin/Brentwood areas who would consider transit if service to and from work were direct, and it offered more trip time flexibility with this multimodal approach. Officials want to know level of interest and if the currently scheduled times work for staff and faculty. The contact for ideas and suggestions is Jack Jakobik of VUMC Parking and Transportation Services at jack.jakobik@Vanderbilt.edu.

Interested in RTA bus only?
The route, designated 91-X, charges a one-way fare of $4. A 20-ride pass normally costs $70 but the Vanderbilt discounted price is $47 when purchased on campus. Only Vanderbilt full time employees, graduate and medical students and Medical Center volunteers are eligible for the discounted pass.

No single ride tickets are sold on campus.

In addition to the new direct to Vanderbilt bus, RTA’s Route 91X still includes two of the old bus runs that require downtown stops. The schedules for these other buses are available at http://www.rtarelaxandride.com/PDF/2012EnglishRoutes/NAS_LFT_Rt091X_SM_WEB.pdf.

Where can I get bus passes on campus?

Passes for the buses may be purchased on campus at:
• Parking Permit Office at East Garage (ground level) Monday thru Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (936-1215)
• MCN Round Wing (lobby) Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (343-8254)
• The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt (lobby) Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (936-8253)
• Vanderbilt University Traffic and Parking Office, Wesley Place Garage, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Tuesdays 2 to 3:30 p.m. (322-2554)
• Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks HR Express, Tuesday & Thursday, 11a.m. to 1 p.m.

What if I want to drive my car some days?

For days when it’s more convenient to drive your own car, up to five one-day commuter passes may be purchased in advance for the N-Lot and South Garage (roof level) at the Parking Permit Office located in the East Garage on Level G. These commuter passes are valid for one day only, and cost $3 each for employees. There is also a free parking option available at Lot 127 with shuttle services to campus. Click here for information on Lot 127.


What if I need to run some errands or an emergency comes up?

There are also rides available on days when you take a bus to work and you need to run some errands or an emergency comes up. The Emergency Ride Home Program provides free taxi vouchers or rental cars to bus and van riders who must leave work unexpectedly or work late due to an emergency. For more information call 862-8833.

Also, Zip-cars are available to mass transit commuters and others who occasionally require the use of a vehicle while at work. For more information visit www.zipcar.com/vanderbilt or call 322-2554.