Transportation Services COVID-19 Response Hub

The university is committed to reducing the risk of COVID-19 for its students, faculty, and staff. To safeguard the health of the community, the university will modify many of its operations based on public health guidance. UW COVID-19 Response site

This page is a “hub” for information on the current and expected future state of UW-Madison transportation and parking operations. All operations will comply with university, local, state, and federal public health guidance.

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Please note this page will be updated as new information becomes available.
Last update: 4/20/21


Madison Metro Transit has reduced operations and certain service restrictions. Some service restrictions include:

  • Rider capacity limits – 25 passenger maximum (as of April 2021)
  • Passengers are required to wear a face mask; it is strongly recommended to keep physical distancing of six feet between passengers

Find full, up-to-date details on the Metro COVID-19 service updates web page.

2020-21 (Sept. 1, 2020 – Aug. 31, 2021) employee bus passes are available for online purchase in the eBusiness purchasing portal as of August 1, 2020. Eligible students can obtain a student bus passes through the Associated Student of Madison (ASM).

Campus service (Routes 80, 81, 82, 84)

  • Campus bus service (Routes 80, 81, 82, 84) is run through a partnership with Madison Metro Transit. All campus routes are fare-free.
  • Metro’s service guidelines are in place for campus service (ex. face mask requirement).

Fall semester campus bus service ran full service August 23 – November 25 and  recess service ran November 27 – January 23. Spring semester service started January 24. (Reminder: no campus buses operate on legal holidays.) These public health safety measures are in place:

  • Face masks must be worn while riding (reasonable accommodations may be made for those unable to do this for medical reasons). Drivers will be separated by a plexiglass shield and will wear a mask.
  • Rider capacity limits will be in place per Metro standards. Running January 25 – May 7, 2021 for spring semester: Route 80 will have “trailer buses” (yellow school buses) following behind them for people to use once the Metro bus has reached capacity. Trailer buses will run 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 2 – 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. There will also be capacity limits in place for the trailer buses.
  • Buses will be wiped down and cleaned with anti-viral spray every night.

Note: Campus route service changes were finalized in April 2020 and are in effect August 23, 2020. Daytime service (Route 80, 84) was changed to better accommodate demand and late night service (Routes 81, 82) was adapted to better serve off-campus student housing areas. Check out the new UW Campus – Transit Ride Guide (PDF) for route details.

The accessible circulator shuttle provides supplemental service to the campus bus for those with specific mobility needs. Shuttles serve campus locations Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-  7:30 p.m. during fall and spring UW class sessions and exam periods. Learn more about the accessible circulator shuttle

Fall semester service ran September 2 – November 26, 2020. Spring semester service started January 25, 2021.

Public health safety measures on accessible shuttles include:

  • Face masks must be worn while riding*. Drivers will wear a mask.
  • Shuttles will be wiped down and cleaned with anti-viral spray every night.

* Reasonable accommodations may be made for those unable to do this for medical reasons.

Biking continues to be an excellent commuting option! Madison has a thriving bike scene and UW-Madison was upgraded to a Platinum-level Bike Friendly University in Fall 2019. There are over 15,000 bike parking stalls on campus. Be sure to check out our bicycling page for details on bike safety, bike parking, and other resources.

Although the University Bicycle Resource Center (UBRC) is closed, all DIY “air and repair”  stations (map PDF) are open. The UBRC will be closed and will not host in-person classes during the fall or spring semester, although there are virtual programming options. Learn about virtual class options (including recordings of past classes) on the University Bicycle Resource Center page.

Don’t have your own bike? Learn more about local bike sharing options, including a discounted partner membership with Madison BCycle. Find BCycle stations in various places around campus and across Madison.

Walking or other pedestrian movement is the most common way to travel to, from, and around campus. Physical distancing of at least six feet (1.8 meters) is recommended wherever possible. Reminder: Face coverings are required when in outdoors spaces on campus (campus face covering policy PDF). Reasonable accommodations may be made for those unable to do this for medical reasons.

SAFEwalk–a nighttime walking companion service–resumed August 23, 2020. There were operational pauses September 10-25 (campus safety protocols) and December 20 – January 10 (winter recess).

You can arrange a walk by calling or texting (608) 262-5000. The following safety measures will be in place when service restarts:

  • All walkers – the requester and both SAFEwalk staff – are required to wear face masks at all times, regardless if indoors or outdoors. SAFEwalkers may refuse service to anyone who refuses to wear a mask unless the client has a stated medical condition that precludes wearing a mask.
  • Individuals will walk with physical distancing (6 feet, 1.8 meters) between group members wherever possible.

Updates to safety measures will be shared when available.

Reservations with a start date on or after August 17, 2020 will be allowed using the reservation portal. Note: Updates to travel restrictions announced March 24, 2021.


Face masks must be worn inside university owned vehicles if there is more than one passenger. See Public Health Protocols for Reopening (PDF) for more information.

Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures used for all vehicles and associated items (keys/key fobs).

UW Transportation Services does not organize carpool or vanpool services, although we offer incentives to registered carpool groups and partner with the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA) vanpool program.

Those who commute by carpool or vanpool should operate to the best of their discretion and consider following public health department recommendations (CDC guidance), such as regularly disinfecting surfaces, adhering to physical distancing where possible, and regular use of face masks. The DOA vanpool program may implement their own safety protocols.

Explore our carpool webpage and vanpool webpage for more information about these shared commute programs.

Flexible Parking Options

Circumstances may be constantly changing, but we’re here to help. We understand the need for flexibility as employees figure out their best commuting options for the academic year.

The campus parking situation is constantly reviewed to see if it is matching the UW community need. With many UW and UW affiliate employees at least partially telecommuting for fall 2020 and spring 2021, Transportation Services has been working hard to adapt parking options.

Parking allotments have been shifted for many parking lots. Both new and existing parking options allow employees to choose what will work best for their circumstances.

The Flex parking program will be expanded by offering more permits for the 2020-21 year. Flex is “pay as you go” parking, there is no up-front or monthly permit cost.

You must apply in the permit application system (PAS) in order to be considered for a Flex permit. More information on the Flex parking program and How to apply for parking

A new multi-day parking pass was created to assist employees without a parking permit who need to park occasionally and want a guaranteed space. The prepaid pass costs $40 and is valid for 5 uses from Sept. 1, 2020 through Aug. 31, 2021. The pass can be used in any of the following public visitor parking facilities: Lot 6, 7, 17, 20, 29, 36, 46, 76, 80, and 83.

Multi-day passes will be available to purchase starting August 1, 2020 in the eBusiness purchasing portal. This is a pilot program; availability will be limited and may be subject to change. You are able to purchase more than one, but only one item may be purchased per transaction.

Find more information on the multi-day pass and all available permit types on the permit types and information page. The page also describes how to apply for and purchase the various types of parking permits.

Visitor temporary parking options ranging from hourly to monthly are available on a space-available basis. Learn more about all visitor parking options

Visitor parking is primarily available in gated parking facilities (garages and ramps). A live count of visitor parking in gated lots is displayed on the visitor parking availability page.

Choosing a parking permit

We understand your on-campus work situation may change throughout the semester.

For those who rarely need to commute to campus, a multi-day parking pass (prepaid pass with 5 uses) or using hourly visitor parking may be best.

If you do not have a 2020-21 permit and your situation changes so you need more regular parking:

If you do purchase a 2020-21 permit and your situation changes, you can:

  • Apply again for a different permit type and/or parking lot.
    • Please keep in mind employees who do not have parking are prioritized over those who possess a parking permit. While there isn’t a guarantee when you may get a permit offer after applying again, we will make efforts to allow easier transitions for those moving from a Flex to a base lot permit. Check upcoming offer dates and permit availability
  • Return the permit. Charges apply for cancellations after September 1. Learn more about permit cancellations

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Customer service locations

UW Transportation Services WARF and 21 N. Park Street offices reopened August 24, 2020. New protocols for in-person customer service have been implemented and some “contactless” options are available. Please see our Contact Us page for virtual, phone, and in-person customer service hours of operation.

Citation fees and other payments

Citation appeals and fee payments were temporarily paused but are once again being collected. Fee escalation for late payments was started again September 29.

2019-20 product refunds

You will receive a refund if you had an “active” (not canceled or returned) 2019-20 parking permit, employee bus pass, or other transportation product as of March 23, 2020. The refund period is March 23 – August 31, 2020. Details about 2019-20 product refunds

Other commuting methods

Bus, bike, carpool, vanpool or by foot are great ways to get to campus. Using one of these methods also makes you eligible for the emergency ride home program–a free-to-you voucher for a taxi to take you home in case of emergency.

See the transportation section at the top of this page and check out the other resources on our website for more details.

Need help figuring out how to get to campus? Submit a custom route planning request form or email for assistance. Staff will reach out to help you find the best plan for your circumstances!