Mapping the Landscape of Aging

Transportation: Charlottesville Transit Service

CTS Bus Service

General Overview

In 1975 the City of Charlottesville took on responsibilities for managing the former Yellow Transit Company’s municipal buses, retaining the CTS bus service through government appropriations. This bus service provides the primary public transit service in the City of Charlottesville and the more urbanized areas of Albemarle County. Buses run Monday through Saturday, from approximately 6:00 AM – 12:00 Midnight, with some variation by route.

Passengers over the age of 65 may use this service at a reduce fare of 35 cents per trip with a reduced-fare card or those traveling between stops from the University of Virginia to the Historic Downtown on West Main Street may utilize the free trolley service at no cost to them.

As the primary transit for the urbanized areas of Charlottesville and Albemarle, CTS bus service is concentrated around the area’s higher intensities of land uses. This is important when considering the destinations for which access is required, however, for those living outside of the urbanized core of the region, service may not be available.

Current Problems Facing CTS Bus Service

While the CTS bus service has excellent coverage throughout the City of Charlottesville, it will require expansion and some route changes as the urbanized core of the region continues to grow. Critiques from seniors frequently include that the service runs behind its posted schedule and it is difficult to know when to arrive at the bus stop to minimize the wait time, but prevent a passenger’s missing the bus. Covered bus shelters are not available at all stops making wait time inconvenient during inclimate weather.

For certain routes, specifically those accessing destinations on Route 29 North, it often takes very long periods of time to travel from point to point. This may be the result of buses not having a separate lane on which to travel and the additional time required to reenter traffic after leaving a bus stop. Service expansion might include extending routes to accommodate development that has occurred over time, but doing it in a way that does not provide incentives for sprawl to occur. Progressive coordination of land use and transportation must be implemented in order to make any expansion successful. Improving bus shelters, making sure that each stop has coverage for poor weather conditions, providing real-time digital read-outs for incoming service to each bus stop, and (eventually) providing bus rapid transit or another high-speed, high-capacity service option for this growing region will make CTS bus service a viable alternative to the private automobile for the future.

The opinions and assessments of particular services represent the view of graduate students and not necessarily those of JABA, the University of Virginia, or The Institute on Aging.

CTS Bus Routes

The CTS bus service provides the primary public transit service in the City of Charlottesville and the more urbanized areas of Albemarle County. The map at the head of this page shows the 11 bus routes and their stops that run during the day. The evening routes were not mapped here as they consist of half the number of routes, following a similar stop schedule as those during the day. These routes are concentrated within the City of Charlottesville, but do extend north into urbanized Albemarle County along the Route 29 North corridor to Berkmar Drive and east on Route 250/Richmond Road out to the Pantops Shopping Center.

Linear Distance to CTS Bus Stops


There is very little land area within the City of Charlottesville that is not within a ¼ mile radius of a bus stop. This distance is symbolized in bright green. This is a standard distance accepted in transportation planning by which the average citizen is willing to travel by foot; however, since we are dealing with a demographic which may not have the physical capabilities to walk this distance, we have shown the locations of bus stops with incremental distances from approximately 1/16 th of a mile (325 feet), symbolized in off-white and 1/8 th of a mile (650 feet), symbolized in orange, to more than ½ mile (2,600 ft +).

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Average Distance to CTS Bus Stops

This map shows the average distances by which all residents within each census block must travel in order to reach a CTS bus stop. As in the last map, there are very few blocks within the City of Charlottesville that are not within the ¼ mile radius of a transit stop. A similar pattern can be seen as in the previous map whereby the color becomes darker as you move to the edge of the City indicating that stops are centrally located within the urbanized area and become fewer and less concentrated as you move into the County. This is not without exception as there are census blocks within the urban core that do not have a bus stop within close proximity or within walking distance.

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Aggregate Accessibility to CTS Bus Stops

The allocation map displays the aggregate distance that must be traveled by those more than 65 years old by census block to the nearest CTS bus stop. This map shows that there are census blocks that may include a bus stop; however, there may be a large number of seniors within this block or that most of these residents are located at a considerable distance from the bus stop. The areas in the map in light yellow are those with the highest quotient for accessibility and those in crimson are those with the lowest. We can therefore look at these census blocks, such as those in Albemarle County to the northeast and northwest of the City line, as locations where transit improvements could take place to increase accessibility for seniors living in those census blocks.

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