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Kids can get a free bus ride to downtown Iowa City summer weekdays by showing their library card


Iowa City’s new electric bus debuts on the Downtown Shuttle route, photographed on Jan. 31, 2022, in Iowa City, Iowa. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Starting Wednesday, Iowa City kids will be able to get a free bus ride downtown by showing their library card, as the Summer Library Bus program returns. The Iowa City Public Library (ICPL) partners with Iowa City Transit every year for this program to make it easier for school-age kids to access the library during the summer break.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays, the under-18 set just needs to show an ICPL card to the driver of an Iowa City bus to get downtown. There is no stop at the library, but all buses stop at the Old Capital Town Center, which is three blocks away.

Adult caregivers accompanying children can also show a library card for a free ride. It’s important to note that free rides for flashing a library card only works in one direction — downtown. Free return rides are available through ICPL’s Ride and Read program. Anyone of any age can present their library card at any library desk and receive a bus pass good for a single ride. The Ride and Read program is more limited than the summer program — only one pass per library card a day, and a limit of two total per week — but it does run all year long.

Rides with Cambus, the University of Iowa’s transit service, are free and open to the public every day of the week, all year long. Cambus routes run throughout the UI campus, including to the dorms, Pentacrest, hospitals and clinics, Hancher, Finkbine and the Research Park in Coralville. Cambus’s ADA-accessible Bionic Buses can pick riders up wherever they are by request, and are equipped with kneelers and wheelchair ramps. That service, too, is free.


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