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Cambus: Wikis


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Founded 1972
Locale Iowa City, IA
Service area University of Iowa
Service type bus service, paratransit
Web site

Cambus is a public transport bus system, primarily serving the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, IA. The service is intended to provide transportation for students, faculty, and staff around the main campus, Oakdale campus, residence halls, and commuter parking lots. However, Cambus is a free service to the general public. Cambus provides nearly 4,000,000 rides per year.

The service is operated by the Department of Parking and Transportation for the University of Iowa with funding from the Parking & Transportation Department, a UI Student fee, and the Federal Transportation Administration.



Cambus was originally founded by University of Iowa students and has been in operation since 1972. The University of Iowa campus is divided into east and west halves by the Iowa River. Most Liberal Arts and Sciences classes take place on the east side of the river; thus the purpose of the new bus service was to facilitate easier transportation between the west-side dormitories and the east-side classrooms. At first there was no name for this service, so the founding students created a contest open to all U of I students to select one. "Cambus" was the name eventually chosen after Cambuskenneth, and the winner (whose name has been lost to history) was awarded a free pizza.

The first Cambus buses were used school buses, repainted by Cambus employees. There were three different bus routes; Red Route, Blue Route, and the Interdorm Shuttle. Cambus also acquired a trailer, which was used as their main office; this was located in the Hancher Auditorium parking lot.

Currently, Cambus employs approximately 150 employees. There are only six non-student employees who work specifically for Cambus: the Cambus Coordinator, the Maintenance Supervisor, and four full-time mechanics. All other employees, including drivers, dispatchers, trainers, student mechanics, and departmental supervisors, are students currently enrolled at the University of Iowa.

Cambus also has two different buildings on the University of Iowa campus. The main office is located in a trailer building on Stadium Drive, behind Kinnick Stadium. It has recently been renovated with stylish faded white panel siding. The Cambus Maintenance Facility, often called "The Barn" by employees, is located on S. Madison St near the Motor Pool.

Routes and Hours of Operation

Cambus currently has sixteen (16) routes in service.

During Academic service (the Spring and Fall semesters), all routes run on weekdays with extremely limited service on the weekends. During Summer and Interim service a limited service runs with no weekend service. Route maps and schedules are published on the Cambus website and in pamphlets available on the buses. Cambus time is set by the Master Clock at the US Navel Observatory (

During academic service the earliest route begins at 4:30 am and the last route ends at 12:52 am (2:12 am on Friday and Saturday nights for SafeRide)

Cambus also provides charters for University-affiliated groups. In addition, Cambus provides shuttle service for most Hawkeye football games (to/from downtown, Hancher, and the Hawkeye Commuter Lot), most Hawkeye basketball games (to/from Hancher), and some Hawkeye Wrestling meets (to/from Hancher).

Bionic Bus

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Cambus provides paratransit service called the Bionic Bus for University staff, faculty, and students. There are up to 3 paratransit buses in service during normal academic service (fewer run on weekends and during interim service). The service is demand-response curb-to-curb and services most of Iowa City and Coralville. Student drivers are specially trained for Bionic Bus. Unlike Iowa City Transit and Coralville Transit, the paratransit service is handled in-house and not contracted to Johnson County SEATS.


The Cambus fleet has changed tremendously over the years with addition of new buses and retirement of old ones. The current fleet consists of 36 actively used buses:

  • One 1992 Champion paratransit bus (Bus 6) which is semi-retired and is occasionally used for Bionic Bus service.
  • Three Orion Bus Industries paratransit buses (Buses 8-10). Buses 8 and 9 are used for Bionic Bus service and Bus 10 is usually used for the East Campus Shuttle, although occasionally used for Bionic Bus.
  • One Opus Optima 30-foot low-floor bus (Bus 11) which is used for Bionic Bus service.
  • Fifteen 1989 Gillig Phantom 40-foot buses (Buses 64-78) used for general service. Buses 65, 68, 70, 74, 75, 76, and 77 are being prepped for retirement and are not currently put on route (as of January 2009).
  • Five 1997 Gillig Phantom 40-foot buses (Buses 82-86) used for general service.
  • Five 1989 Gillig Phantom 35-foot buses (Buses 89-93) used for general service. These are often referred to as the "Madisons" because they were bought from Madison (Wisconsin) transit.
  • Twelve 2008 Gillig 40-foot Low-floor buses (Buses 94-105) used for general service.
  • Two Dodge Caravan minivans used for support purposes. One minivan is used for the Oakdale Route Mid-day Van
  • One Ford F-250 pickup truck (with snowplow) used for support purposes.

All buses are outfitted with wheelchair lifts or ramps to assist those with disabilities.


External links



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