Frequently Asked Questions

Our frequently asked questions page has been expanded – and you can always email us suggestions for new FAQ topics.

Probably not: the Federal Transit Administration has a strict set of charter service regulations that we must follow, and they typically prohibit a public transit agency from taking event contracts. This is designed to protect private operators from unfair competition. However, if your event is put on by a Qualified Human Services Organization and/or is primarily intended for “transportation that serves the needs of either human service agencies or targeted populations (elderly, individuals with disabilities, and or low income individuals)”, we may be able to provide event service. Read the ODOT Charter Manual and contact us to discuss.

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Besides keeping schedules on our buses, we regularly stock the following locations: Athens City Hall, The Athens Community Center, The Athens Visitor Center, Athens Public Library, The Plains Public Library, Chauncey Public Library, Ohio University Transportation and Parking Services, Alden Library 2nd Floor, and the Baker Center 4th Floor Service Desk. In addition, you can find schedules at a variety of local retail, lodging, and medical establishments.

Look for Rider Guides with an effective date of 7/1/16, with schedules inside that have an effective date of 8/15/16 – this is our most up-to-date information.

If you are a business or organization that would like us to deliver information to you, call us at 740-589-3782

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Yes! Day passes cost $3 for the general public and $1.50 if you are 65+ or have a disability. They are purchased from the driver and are good for unlimited rides during the day they are issued. One day pass per person please!

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(Updated 8/19/16) The question we get most often! The answer here takes the form of several short trip plans. We hope to have these written for many other popular destinations soon. Remember that each bus line runs hourly, and that stop times are written as minutes past each hour. These directions also work for Kroger, which is one stop earlier outbound and one stop later inbound than Walmart for the trip plans above.

From Uptown main stop: Board Line 2 just before the half hour, Line 3 just before the hour. Tell your driver that you want to go to Walmart.

From West Green: Go to the stop with a bus turnoff on Richland by Grover Center just downhill from the crosswalk. Line 3 at arrives at :56. Tell your driver that you want to go to Walmart.

From East Green: Go to the stop on the other side of Stewart St from McCracken Hall, diagonal to your right as you walk out the front of Jefferson Dining Hall. Line 4 arrives at :56 past. Tell your driver that you want to go to Walmart.

From South Green: Board Line 4 at :55 past. The stop is not currently marked with a sign, but it is the stretch of sidewalk on Stewart St next to the basketball courts on South Beach in front of Brown Hall. Wave the bus driver down.

Returning: You can board at the Walmart Food entrance (there’s a sign and bench to your left as you exit) at :45 past on the 2 outbound, :22 past on the 3 outbound, or ::09 past on the 4 outbound. Alternatively you can cross the parking lot and East State Street at the light. Look to your left and the State/Robinson stop is in front of Lam’s Garden Restaurant. 2 inbound stops at :58, 3 inbound at :28, and the 4 inbound at :25. This stop will take you home quicker, but requires more walking.

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If you made it to the stop on time, the most likely answer is that the bus was delayed by heavy traffic, road work across its route, or an accident. Buses should never be early, though we do encourage you to be at the stop 2-5 minutes before the scheduled arrival – your clock may not match ours! If you have waited more than 5 minutes PAST the scheduled stop time, call our dispatch office at 740-592-2727 to find out what is happening – this goes beyond normal traffic delay. We also put out service interruption alerts on our agency Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Our real-time bus tracking service is another good source of information about delay. Check it out on the web at aptcats.doublemap.com or download free iOS and Android native apps at athenstransit.org/tracker.

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It can be hard for newcomers to guess what line a bus is on; the APT bus fleet is not yet equipped with LED lighted destination signs showing line numbers. However, each bus does display its line number on a colored placard next to the bottom of the passenger door (picture below), and on a similar placard on the front grill. A tip: if you are at a stop, know which line you want, but can’t tell which line an arriving bus is on, signal to the driver the number of fingers corresponding to the line number you want, and they’ll stop if they’re the correct line. This low-tech but effective communication approach works for now; we’ll think of something else if we ever add more than ten lines! Fixed Destination Sign Illustration-01

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Bobcat Pass is a new pilot partnership with Ohio University and the City of Athens. It allows you to ride the bus free an unlimited number of times by presenting your Ohio Unviersity ID card to the APT bus driver. The pilot year of Bobcat Pass is funded by Ohio University Transportation and Parking Services.

The first time you ride, the driver will mark your ID with a small sticker on the back – we’re studying how many people use Bobcat Pass. After that, just show your ID as you board.

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APT is in the middle of a gradual transition to fixed-stop service in the City of Athens, but we don’t have signs at every stop location yet. You can view photos of most stop locations in Google Maps by zooming in and clicking on the icon for a bus stop.

Bus stop signs come in two flavors: the standard APT sign and a smaller Bobcat Pass bus stop sign that is used on and arround campus. Keep in mind with the Bobcat Pass signs that they are not the only places you can use Bobcat Pass – it is good across the entire system!

If you’ve confirmed that you are in the right place, but there isn’t a sign, take the extra precaution of waving to the driver as they approach to make sure that they know you want to board. We hope to have all of our stops clearly signed by the end of fall 2016.

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There are many transportation services in Athens! We work together in various ways. Here is your cheat sheet.

Athens Public Transit (APT) is general public transit in the City of Athens, through Ohio University’s main campus, and in parts of Athens County (The Plains, Chauncey, and in between these villages and Athens).

Ohio University Campus Area Transit System (CATS) are free high-frequency shuttles that loop around the main campus. CATS is operated by University Transportation and Parking Services. Both CATS loops and APT lines can be tracked in real time at aptcats.doublemap.com, and they share many stops you can use to transfer between the two.

CATCAB is a service for members of the University community with disabilities. It operates within a mile of Baker Center and requires patrons to register before booking rides.

Athens On Demand Transit (AODT) shares adminstrative offices with Athens Public Transit, and both are administered by HAPCAP. AODT’s mission is to serve the elderly, those with disabilities, and rural people traveling to medical care – they operate throughout Athens County on a dial-a-ride basis.

GoBus is a statewide intercity bus service, also administered by HAPCAP – it travels from Athens to many destination cities including Columbus and the CMH Airport, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Marietta/Parkersburg.

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Flagging, or hailing as it is also known, is the act of waving for the bus to stop; you’ve probably used the technique to catch a taxi before.

APT uses flagging in more rural parts of our service area with low ridership and a long distance between bus stops. These areas include:

  • Columbus Road from Dairy Queen north.
  • Far East State St from the end of the Market on State to Holzer Clinic;
  • The Plains;
  • Chauncey;
  • State Route 682 between The Plains and Athens, and between The Plains and Chauncey;
  • State Route 13 between Chauncey and Athens.

APT only stops the bus at safe locations; parts of 682 and 13 may be problematic because of visibility or narrow berms, and the bus will stop as near to you as it is safely able. The bus will not pick you up if you are walking on a high-speed four lane highway such as U.S. Route 33 or 32/50 – these are unsafe locations.

You can also flag the bus at a designated bus stop if you’re feeling unsure that the driver sees you. Wave a couple times so they don’t think you’re just saying hello!

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Places the bus WILL stop for you.

APT is a fixed-stop system in the City of Athens; the bus will only stop at designated bus stop locations to pick you up.

In addition to dropping you off at designated bus stops, APT also allows you to alight at any stop sign that the bus would normally stop at on its line.

People with disabilities who can’t get to our fixed stops may register for our paratransit program, which offers more pickup/dropoff flexibility.

Outlying and rural parts of our system are areas you can flag the bus at any safe location.

Places the bus WON’T stop for you.

Note that the stop sign rule DOES NOT apply to stop lights, which may turn green at any moment.

Absolutely do not attempt to board or alight from the bus when it is in a center or left lane of traffic – this is a great way to get hit by a car!

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GoBus has two stops in Athens – behind the first floor of Baker Center, and in the parking lot of the Athens Community Center. Both these stops are served by multiple APT bus lines

To transfer to GoBus Baker Center stop, ride Lines 2, 3, 5 or 6 to our main bus hub on West Mulberry St. Go in the Baker Center 4th floor entrance and take the escalators all the way to the first floor entrance. The GoBus stop will be on your right as you leave the building. There is also a food court and coffee shop in Baker Center if you are waiting for more than a few minutes.

To transfer to GoBus Baker Center stop from Line 4, ride to the Richland Avenue and West Green Drive Bus stop; the footpath between Grover and Porter Halls leads straight back to Baker Center 1st floor and the GoBus stop. Lines 2 & 3 also stop here in both directions.

To transfer to GoBus Community Center stop, ride Lines 2, 3, or 4 to the Athens Community Center. The APT bus will drop you off at the Community Center main entrance; you can buy tickets at the front counter inside, or if you already have a ticket follow the APT bus about 100 yards towards the solar panel parking area and the GoBus shelter will be on your left.

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APT drivers, like other transit operators in Ohio and across the nation, do not make change for fares. This has been the norm in the United States for a long time, though it is worth noting that other countries (the U.K. is a good example) still have many agencies that allow drivers to make change.

When explaining the policy, five issues are usually brought up:
  • Drivers are in danger of strong-arm robbery when they carry change;
  • Drivers themselves could shortchange, steal, lose or otherwise cause problems with cash;
  • Time spent making change is an issue, since making change slows boarding and the bus and passengers are on a schedule;
  • Safety also factors: focusing on more tasks distracts drivers from driving;
  • Even if drivers were allowed to carry change, getting through an eight-hour shift changing ATM twenties for singles would be unlikely. Odds are the driver would be out of change long before shift end.

None of these reasons is likely to make you feel better if you have just showed up with somewhere you need to be, only to realize that your large bill cannot be broken up on the bus! APT understands that some of our fare policies cause trouble when paired with today’s financial world. When we lowered our fare to $1.00 from $1.50, it was partly to streamline cash payment process. We are committed to finding new solutions to make fare payment easier for you as time goes on.

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