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Fall 2020 Bus Service

Fall Service Updates

BT is committed to ensuring the safety of our community and employees. We continue to clean and sanitize our vehicles in addition to maintaining strict passenger limits and requiring passengers and drivers to wear face coverings while on the bus.

BT is still evaluating service options for the fall in order to align with Virginia Tech's plans. We share your concerns and are currently working to make decisions that keep everyone safe.

Please check this page for updates.


We know this fall will be different and BT will adapt. We’re still working on the details to align with VT’s plans for a blend of in-person and on-line classes, so check this page for updates.

We know that the typical student will experience at least one-third of instruction in an in-person format, but there’s a lot we don’t know – especially how this will impact our bus service. We can tell you that the service we provide will look a lot like last fall, with over 40 buses operating each day and most of our routes will operate every 10 or 15 minutes during peak times in Blacksburg. We know that one of our biggest issues is how many people to let on the bus. Our current passenger limit of 9 works well now (June), but it’s not going to work once we return to full service.

While we don’t have all the answers right now, we will update this page on a weekly basis.

Do you have a question you’d like to see added to our FAQ’s? Email us at btransit@blacksburg.gov
What is BT doing to keep passengers and drivers safe?

In addition to cleaning and sanitizing our buses, we’re also in the process of installing barriers to provide separation between the driver and passengers. (Posted 6/15/2020)

Is it safe to ride the bus?

Safety has, and always will be, our number one priority. We’re making the buses as safe as possible by cleaning and sanitizing them. We encourage passengers to follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines about how to protect yourself such as frequent hand washing. (Updated 6/30/2020)

Will BT use the same passenger limits as last fall?

No. We will set reasonable limits on the number of riders on buses based on the best data available from the health department and other government sources. We’re still working on those passenger limits so check back often. (Updated 6/30/2020)

What are BT's passenger limits right now?

Our current (temporary) passenger limits are nine passengers per bus. This fall semester there will be approximately 20,000 students living off campus, so we will increase the limits. (Updated 6/30/2020)

Will those passenger limits allow for social distancing of six feet apart?

It’s a tough call because we’re trying to reduce the number of riders so the buses aren’t too crowded but at the same time make sure we’re meeting the demand for public transportation. We do not expect to be able to provide six feet of social distancing on all trips but we are implementing other measures to reduce risk. (Updated 6/30/2020)

Will BT require everyone to wear face coverings while on the bus?

At this time, we are requiring all passengers (and drivers) to wear a face covering while on the bus, in compliance with Governor Northam's Executive Order 63. (Updated 6/30/2020)

Will BT enforce the face covering rule on buses

If a passenger boards a bus without a face covering the driver will ask the passenger to wear one. Drivers will have cloth face coverings available for those who don’t have one. Please be considerate to your fellow passengers to help prevent transmission. (Posted 6/30/2020)

Where can I find more information about the Commonwealth of Virginia guidelines for re-opening?

www.virginia.gov/coronavirus (Posted 6/30/2020)

Where can I find more information about Virginia Tech's guidelines for re-opening?

www.vt.edu/ready (Posted 6/30/2020)

How much longer will rear door boarding and fare free remain in effect?

Fare free remains in place along with rear door boarding. We will revisit this policy prior to the beginning of the semester. (Posted 6/30/2020)

Besides bus, what other commuting options are there?

While most major apartment complexes are located on the bus routes, many are also just a short walk or bike ride from campus. Information about the roamNRV bike share program can be found at gotchabike.com/roamnrv. Information about alternative transportation options offered by Virginia Tech, can be found at parking.vt.edu/alternative (Posted 6/30/2020)

Will BT operate the same routes and frequency as the summer?

We operate on reduced service during the summer, which means fewer routes and less frequency, e.g. one bus per route. At the start of the fall semester, we’ll increase our Blacksburg service to 16 routes with most operating every 10 – 15 minutes, e.g. two or three buses per route. This is about the same level of service as last fall. BT Access, and our Christiansburg service, the Go Anywhere and Explorer routes will operate as normal. (Updated 6/30/2020)

Will BT add more routes / service this fall?

New this year, we’ll add another route to South Main St. which will serve the neighborhoods around Airport Road and Fairfax Road. This new route will operate Monday through Friday between 7 am and 6:45 pm, and should help the Main Street South route. The CRC route will now operate six days a week with newly added Saturday service. We will also provide fill-in buses to help with full buses to the extent that we have resources available. (Posted 6/30/2020)

How can exposure to COVID-19 be limited when passengers are in close proximity to each other?

According to the CDC, transmission is unlikely in brief interactions of less than 15 minutes, even in close proximity. Fortunately, BT’s average trip length is around 10 minutes and wearing a face covering will further decrease the chance of transmission. (Posted 6/30/2020)

Does BT have off-peak travel times? Does BT have any recommended times to travel? e.g. times with the fewest passengers?

BT’s peak and off-peak times vary each day. On average the busiest time in a morning is 30 minutes before every class begins and in the afternoon the busiest time is 30 minutes after every class ends. As a general rule, there should be fewer riders outside of these times. Traveling during off-peak will also help reduce the risk of exposure. (Posted 6/30/2020)

Fare Free

Fares are temporarily suspended until further notice. Passengers are asked to board at the rear doors where possible. Front door boarding is available for persons with mobility aids and strollers. 

Passenger Limit

The temporary passenger limit implemented on 3/25 remains in effect.

  • 9 passengers on Blacksburg buses,
  • 4 passengers on Christiansburg service and Warm Hearth,
  • 1 passenger (and personal care attendant, if authorized) on BT Access.

BT is committed to ensuring the safety of our community and employees. This precaution is in addition to cleaning our buses and practicing social distancing within our facilities. We ask that everyone do their part to #flattenthecurve and only take essential trips when necessary.

Face Coverings

Face coverings are required in all public places, including while riding a bus.Face Coverings Decal transparent

BT will have a limited number of masks available on buses for those that have been unable to locate a face covering. Please refer to the links below for more information from the CDC:

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