Chapel Hill Transit returns to full service in August 2021

Chapel Hill Transit will begin running routes paused during COVID-19 pandemic on Aug. 1. Some routes will have reduced service and some routes will be operated by a third-party contractor.

Chapel Hill Transit will bring back all of its routes, with schedule adjustments, starting Aug. 1.

Chapel Hill Transit has been running reduced service since last year. Routes including the B, CCX, F, G, JFX, T, and Safe Rides have not been running; starting in August, those routes will return. This return has been approved by local public health and emergency management officials.

COVID safety protocols will continue to impact how Chapel Hill Transit provides service. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chapel Hill Transit leaders made service adjustments in real time, focusing on:

  • Operator and customer safety
  • Facilitating social distancing on vehicles
  • Providing transit access to community members with the fewest mobility options, and
  • Restoring transit service that supports access to jobs, healthcare, education and other essential services.

Moving into August, and the beginning of a new academic year for UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill Transit will continue to balance the safety of transit operators and customers, and providing options for community who rely on transit services, with staffing challenges and increased customer needs.

SAFETY FIRST

Chapel Hill Transit has taken a number of steps to ensure our customers’ safety while on the bus.

  • All customers and team members are required to wear masks while on transit vehicles
  • Chapel Hill Transit vehicles are cleaned multiple times a day
  • New ultra-violet technology, which kills the coronavirus that causes COVID on surfaces, has been installed on all vehicles
  • Special HEPA filtration units, proven effective against the virus, have been installed on all vehicles
  • Barriers have been installed between seating benches to provide physical separation between people

CRITICAL OPERATOR SHORTAGE LEADS TO SERVICE CHANGES

Chapel Hill Transit is experiencing a critical shortage of operators. “We are working hard to develop schedules that provide a high level of service and can be maintained throughout the fall,” says Brian Litchfield, director of Chapel Hill Transit.

“We have more than 30 full-time operation positions available,” says Litchfield. “We’ve had to look at a number of ways to provide the service we will need this fall, with a focus on balancing the needs of customers with our staffing levels. As a Chapel Hill Transit customer, I understand what this means to our customers and community, and I am committed to returning to standard service levels as our staffing allows.”

Chapel Hill Transit is actively recruiting bus operators for full and part-time positions, paid-training, and excellent benefits. Anyone interested can apply at: townofchapelhill.org/jobs.

Chapel Hill Transit is finalizing a contract with Carolina Livery to provide service for the B route, CCX route and JFX route. Carolina Livery will provide all the trips for those routes until further notice.

“We’re working with their team to ensure those buses have good signage and reliable service,” says Nick Pittman, Chapel Hill Transit’s planning manager. “There are some drawbacks like not being able to use NextBus to track the vehicles and operators who are as knowledgeable about the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area. This is meant to be temporary until we can hire enough operators to resume providing the service for these routes.”

In addition to Carolina Livery taking over these three services, Chapel Hill Transit is reducing service on some of our most frequent routes including the: J route, NS route, NU route, RU route and S route.

BE PATIENT WHILE WE ADJUST

“With our operator shortage, the team members we do have are working extra hard to provide quality service. But operators still get sick, need to take care of family members, and make mistakes,” said Brian Litchfield. “Please be patient with our team members as we adjust to providing more service to more people.”

To have the best experience riding Chapel Hill Transit, please:

  • Get to your stop early
    Mistakes happen, and fewer operators mean fewer team members who can make up for late buses. Customers should leave room in their schedules in case there is a traffic delay or missed trip that affects the trip they planned to take.
  • Have questions? Ask your operator respectfully and from a safe distance
    While many team members are vaccinated, some have not been able to be vaccinated. Operators interact with hundreds of people daily, please respect their personal space and interact with them kindly and respectfully.
  • Have patience
    Fall is always a difficult time, with many additional cars filling Chapel Hill and Carrboro streets, and pedestrians and cyclists commuting throughout the community. Safety is Chapel Hill Transit’s operators’ top priority, please be patient with transit operators and give yourself more time than normal to get to your destination.
  • Tell us if you have issues
    The Chapel Hill Transit administrative team is available to help with any issues. Please share any concerns with them via email: or phone: (919) 969-4900

DOUBLE CHECK YOUR ROUTES AND SCHEDULES & OTHER CHANGES

Chapel Hill Transit implemented service changes on Aug. 3, 2020. Many routes and schedules changed. For customers who have not been using transit, review the new route brochures online: All Routes & Schedules.