Anteater Express began as a transit experiment during spring quarter of 1987, when a pilot program with service to Balboa Island was implemented. Operating one 15 passenger van, nearly 6,000 passenger trips were provided during the 11 week trial. The service was branded as the ASUCI Express Shuttle and began regular funded operations during fall quarter of 1987.
The first routes targeted off-campus UCI populations, focusing on reducing the number of cars on campus. Areas were targeted based on two criteria: they had high concentrations of UCI affiliates and they had little or no connectivity to the UCI campus.
When the Arroyo Vista Housing community was completed, the ASUCI Express shuttle was contracted by the UCI Transportation and Distribution Services department (formerly Parking and Transportation) to provide shuttle service to the campus periphery, resulting in the creation of the Main Campus route in 1995. ASUCI was able to acquire numerous Blue Bird school buses in order to efficiently transport the growing number of passengers. By 1999, Arroyo Vista Housing had reached a critical mass of transit hungry residents who, despite being grateful for the Main Campus route, desired direct routing to the campus core, resulting in the addition of a dedicated route to the complex.
In the early 2000’s, American Campus Communities (ACC) was contracted by the University to develop student housing in the East Campus area. This led to an increased need for reliable transportation to the campus. As each ACC community opened (Vista del Campo, Vista del Campo Norte, Camino del Sol, and Puerta del Sol) bus service was added to accommodate the increased student resident population. During this same time in 2007, service was reintroduced to the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach.
In the summer of 2010, ASUCI Express Shuttle acquired 25 transit style buses (El Dorado EZ Riders) from OCTA to replace the majority of its aging fleet. The shuttle program adopted a new look and rebranded as Anteater Express. In the fall, Anteater Express also added a Saturday route to the Irvine Spectrum Center and Irvine Train Station. Thanks to a grant from OCTA, this route was replaced with a Saturday route to The District shopping center in Tustin in the winter of 2012.
After over 25 years of dedicated service to the UC Irvine community, Anteater Express continues to provide safe and reliable transportation to both on campus and off campus destinations, and is committed to meeting the University’s transportation demands of the future.