After this academic year, GoTriangle will no longer operate the Robertson Express route, which runs from the campus of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to Duke University.

The Robertson Scholars Leadership Program is looking at options to keep transportation between the two campuses going. 

Allen Chan, executive director of the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program, confirmed that the Robertson program was notified that GoTriangle will no longer operate the bus route past the end of the academic year. However, the Robertson program is exploring other options for continuing bus service between Durham and Chapel Hill. He declined to elaborate on the options that the program is considering.

"We—at the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program—do plan to continue to make this service available for the next academic year and we are currently assessing many options," Chan wrote. 

GoDurham, the public transit system for the city of Durham, currently operates the Robertson Express for GoTriangle. 

Duke Parking and Transportation Services operated the Robertson Scholars program bus service until 2013, when management changed to GoDurham, previously known as the Durham Area Transit Authority. Chan told DukeToday at the time that the scholars program subsidized the bus, and that the local transit authority operating it would help the program get back some of the money through fares.

The bus, which runs every half hour between the Morehead Planetarium and the Duke Chapel on West Campus, aims to serve students in the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program but is also available to the general public for a $3.00 fare.

"GoTriangle cannot run the route because it doesn’t meet our performance standards for an express route, and because we already run Route 405 in the same corridor," Burgetta Wheeler, public relations manager for GoTriangle, wrote in an email to The Chronicle. 

Route 405, which runs between Durham and Carrboro with stops in Chapel Hill, serves a similar route to the Robertson Express.

Along with concerns about performance standards, the route was the victim of aging buses with mechanical issues that were not replaced when they were retired, according to Wheeler. 

Durham County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow, who chairs the GoTriangle Board of Trustees, expressed concerns about the routes compliance with federal guidelines. Wheeler clarified that Reckhow was referencing Federal Transit Administration rules that prohibit GoTriangle from running a charter service, which Wheeler said the Robertson Express may be in conflict with.

Wheeler wrote that the decision to end GoTriangle's operation of the Robertson Express bus was unrelated to GoTriangle negotiations with Duke over the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project, which the University declined to sign onto ahead of a key deadline last month.

According to Wheeler, the process to end service on the route has been in the works since last year, although the Robertson Scholar Foundation was notified of the final decision at the end of January.