College can be a bit of a culture shock. Students arrive on campus and not all of them come from major metropolitan areas with public transportation systems. A large number of them will be used to driving everywhere. However, keeping a car while in college can be a major hassle. Most schools require parking permits while on campus, not to mention finding and paying for gas, upkeep and monthly garage storage off campus. The good news is that there are several easy, economical solutions to getting around campus and the surrounding areas.
- Walking- The most obvious solution to the student commute. Get up and get moving! Not only is it the cheapest method, but it’s an added dose of exercise to your day and a great way to check out your campus and neighborhood. Most dorms and student housing are located on or alongside campus, making walking an efficient way to get to class, run errands and meet up with friends.
- Public Transportation- Eventually there will be a day when the weather is terrible or classes are located so far apart that one cannot walk there in time during their break. If public transportation is an option, it’s a great idea to invest in a bus pass. Not only is this option cheap, but it’s the quickest way to get around most cities. Seattle’s University of Washington is so large that the public transportation system runs through campus, making it easy for students to get from one end of campus to the other in minutes. All colleges may not have buses drive straight through them, but major universities usually have public transit that runs along major streets outside of campus, cutting down the commute time and getting students where they need to go. Many colleges offer discounted or unlimited passes to students as part of their tuition, so be sure to check with an advisor.
- Scooters and Skateboards- If you are not gravity challenged, investing in a skateboard or scooter is an easy way to get around campus. Most colleges have well-kept landscaping, making for a smooth ride on sidewalks and streets. Just be sure to keep an eye out for oblivious passersby who might step directly in your path without warning.
- Bicycle- Biking on campus is convenient and easy. Most campuses have designated bike lanes and corrals located near buildings. Colleges recommend this as the first alternative to owning a car and many have bike renting/sharing programs implemented for students. The University of New England promotes biking for students, saying, “The goal is to ease critical shortages of parking and to change the car culture that clogs campus roadways and erodes the community feel that comes with walking or biking around campus.” Keep in mind that biking on campus usually requires a quarterly permit registered with administrators.
- Car-sharing Services-Of course, there will be days when you have to stock up on groceries, or textbooks and supplies and it would be easier to haul it back to campus in an actual car. Services like Zipcar are affordable, efficient and can be rented hourly so that students can get their errands done and get back to campus, without the hassle of owning a car full-time.
Getting around campus is not an easy feat, but with a combination of these tips, students are sure to have a safe, cheap and easy commute.