Franklin, Brentwood get direct bus/van service

Photo courtesy of RTA

Vanderbilt University commuters living in Brentwood and Franklin have reason to rejoice—new bus and van routes—with direct service to campus—have been added by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). If you are a potential user of this service, read on, and make note that Vanderbilt is looking for feedback on this exciting service (see contact details below).

Bus service

RTA has started direct-to-Vanderbilt bus service from park and ride lots in Franklin and Brentwood. This is 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

Van service

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 trip 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 phone app is being developed to facilitate these last minute scheduling decisions.

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

Van stops: The van stop location at Vanderbilt is at the corner of 21st Ave. and Pierce Ave. (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 KrogerT >He Brentwood lot is at Civitan Ball Park (same as the RTA bus stops).

Van fares: Fares for occasional 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.
Learn more about VanStar.

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 the RTA website.

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—Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.   (936-1215)
  • MCN Round Wing (Lobby) Monday—Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (343-8254)
  • Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital (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)
  • One Hundred Oaks HR Express, Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

What if I want to drive my car some days?

University central staff and graduate students may purchase in advance up to five commuter day passes at the V.U. Traffic & Parking Office at Wesley Garage.

These passes cost $5 each and are valid for one day only in the Pay Visitor spaces in the 25th Avenue Garage (Highland Avenue entrance), Wesley Place Garage or Terrace Place Garage.

Medical center employees, medical students and medical center volunteers may purchase in advance up to five commuter day passes at the VUMC Parking Permit Office located in the East Garage on Level G. These passes cost $3 each and are valid at the N lot and South Garage (roof level).

Free parking for all is 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?

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.

Zip-cars and WeCars also are available to mass transit commuters and others who occasionally require the use of a vehicle while at work.

Feedback needed

VanStar and Vanderbilt need feedback from 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 multi-modal 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.

Contact: Jack Jakobik,
(615) 322-2554