Navigating Williamsburg with WATA Bus and Trolley: Your Guide to Local Public Transit

October 6, 2015

~By Katie Johanson, Class of 2015

lorax 1

The Lorax riding the William & Mary Green Line and the Williamsburg Trolley during Try Transit Week (September 21-25).

Taking public transit instead of driving a car is one of the most effective ways that people can reduce their energy use and carbon footprint while saving time and money. Among its many benefits, public transportation reduces the miles traveled in private vehicles, eases the congestion of vehicles in an area, and enables communities to plan for and to support alternative modes of transportation. In addition, public transit offers people an opportunity to save money on car-related expenses and to gain time, which would have otherwise been spent driving, to read, listen to music, or work. This guide will introduce you to public transit in the Williamsburg area and provide helpful hints to make your experience the best that it can be.

WATA: Your Local Public Transit Provider

bus trolley

The Williamsburg Area Transit Authority (WATA) provides safe, efficient, and accessible transportation throughout the City of Williamsburg, James City County, and the Bruton District of York County. Thanks to an ongoing contract between the College of William & Mary and WATA, all William & Mary students, faculty, and staff may ride any WATA bus or the Trolley for FREE by showing the Transit Operator their William & Mary ID as they board. Non-affiliated riders may use exact change to pay $1.25 for a one-way pass or $2.00 for an all-day pass as they board the bus or visit the Williamsburg Transportation Center to purchase a multi-day pass. All WATA buses and the Trolley are fully accessible for disabled riders and are equipped with foldable bike racks that hold up to two bikes for multi-modal trips. With minimal preparation and practice, you can make WATA bus or Trolley your transportation option of choice to reach shopping, dining, entertainment, and employment destinations in the area.

Get to Know the Routes

WATA operates nine fixed routes and two specialty routes (the William & Mary Green Line and the Surry Line) using a “hub and spokes” system based at the Williamsburg Transportation Center (a.k.a. Amtrak Train Station) on North Boundary Street, less than one mile from the main William & Mary campus. The campus is directly served by the Red Line, Blue Line, Williamsburg Trolley, and Green Line, while you may transfer to other routes via the Williamsburg Transportation Center.

bus 1 bus 3

Use BusTime®, WATA’s Real-Time Bus Tracker

Using public transit in Williamsburg has never been easier or more hassle-free. Thanks to the BusTime real-time bus tracker
recently launched by WATA, riders no longer have to read a brochure to figure out when a bus or the Trolley will reach their stop. If you have access to a smart phone or computer, open BusTime by typing bustime.gowata.org into the browser or by
clicking on the Transit tab of the William & Mary application. Then, simply choose your desired route, direction, and stop from the menu and the site will show you the estimated arrival times for all of the buses servicing the stop within the next hour. Even with GPS tracking onboard the vehicles, WATA suggests that riders arrive 5 minutes prior to the time reported, because buses may be moving faster or slower than estimated.

Helpful Hints and Safety Tips

  • Pay attention to the hours of operation. WATA buses and the Trolley operate during different hours depending on the day of the week.
  • While waiting for the bus, stand next to the WATA sign so it is clear to the Operator that you want to board the bus. Operators only stop the bus when a passenger is visible at the stop.
  • Have your William & Mary ID, bus pass, or cash in your hand and ready to use while waiting for the bus to arrive.
  • When disembarking, do not walk in front of the bus. Wait until the bus pulls away so that you can look both ways to safely cross the street.
  • If elderly or disabled people board the bus, please offer them your seat if you are near the front.
  • Once your stop appears on the lighted display at the front of the bus, pull down on the overhead cord to request the stop. Please be aware that Operators do not stop at every stop unless requested. If you are riding the Trolley, simply notify the Operator of your designated stop.
  • If you have loaded a bike onto the bus, remind the Operator as you exit that you need to remove your bike.
  • Consider bringing a jacket or sweater onto the bus, as the temperature is variable.
  • Eating and drinking are not allowed on the bus. Please do not bring aromatic food or open beverages onto the bus.
  • Please be mindful of other passengers when listening to music, using headphones during your ride.
  • When in doubt, ask a Transit Operator or contact WATA’s customer service desk. WATA’s friendly and knowledgeable Operators can help you get where you want to go safely and efficiently.
  • Follow WATA on Facebook and Twitter for news, service alerts, and more!

Contact Us with Comments, Questions, or Concerns

General Information about WATA’s Services: (757) 220-5493, info@gowata.org, www.gowata.org 

Bill Horatio III, Director, College of William & Mary Parking & Transportation Services: (757) 221-2434 or wxhora@wm.edu

Katie Johanson, Communications Specialist, Williamsburg Area Transit Authority: kjohanson@gowata.org

Katie Johanson, Communications Specialist at WATA, providing information to parents and students during First Year Experience

Katie Johanson, Communications Specialist at WATA, providing information to parents and students during First Year Experience

Bill Horatio III, Director of William & Mary Parking and Transportation Services, posing with the Lorax during Try Transit Week

Bill Horatio III, Director of William & Mary Parking and Transportation Services, posing with the Lorax during Try Transit Week

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Welcome to Hark Upon the Green! This blog is a shared space for members of the sustainability community at William & Mary to write about sustainability topics on and beyond. If you would like to contribute to the blog, contact Madeleine Boel, Committee on Sustainability Web Assistant, at mgboel@email.wm.edu.
Make sure to visit Sustainability at W&M for all of W&M's progress on sustainability efforts. Catch up with William & Mary Sustainability on Twitter at WM_GreenisGold
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