UI Cambus launches app for on demand services

Cambus partnered with company Spare to develop the new app, Cambus Now, to allow for new services within a limited area and time frame.


Grace Smith

Senior Lauren Pearson opens Cambus doors for students at the University of Iowa in Iowa City on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. Cambus, the UI’s transportation system, celebrates 50 years of operation this year. Pearson got hired at the beginning of August and said the job is very flexible with her schedule as on the rowing team. “It’s been really fun,” Pearson said. “It’s one of the better jobs on campus because it’s so flexible and you can pick up shifts whenever.”

Archie Wagner, News Reporter

The University of Iowa Cambus service partnered with company Spare to develop a new app, Cambus Now, to allow riders to request on-demand services in addition to estimated time of arrival and trip notifications. 

According to a release by UI Parking and Transportation, the app became available to use for riders on Nov. 14 and is available for free on Apple and Android devices. The app offers an on-demand shuttle that will only serve existing Cambus stops and will have limited hours. 

During academic sessions, its hours of operation are listed as 8:45 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., and the stops are focused on commuter parking lots. The shuttle will not provide pickups or drop-offs to locations on campus east of the Iowa River. 

When academic breaks are occurring, the pickup and drop off range is extended to cover the main campus both west and east of the river. However, it will not facilitate rides to Coralville or to the UI Research Park campus and will keep the same hours as during academic sessions. 

In summer, the on-demand shuttle will add additional hours on weekends from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

Additionally, requests will be able to be made for the Bionic Bus in early 2023 through the Cambus Now app. Only riders who have been certified to use the Bionic Bus will be able to request rides from it. 

In using the Cambus Now app and its services, riders have a few options once they create a rider account through the app, including: 

  • Requesting a ride through the app. Users will provide their desired time and location, and the app will confirm the ride and give directions to the pick up location. 
  • Calling Cambus Dispatch at 319-335-8633 to request a ride. For this, riders will provide their phone number so dispatch can look up their rider account and then will provide desired ride details which the dispatcher will confirm. 
  • Boarding the on-demand shuttle at the West Campus Transportation center. Similar to calling Cambus Dispatch, the rider will provide their phone number to allow the driver to look up their rider account and confirm the details of their ride.