If you’re like most college freshmen, you won’t be bringing your car with you to school. You may have the opportunity to have a vehicle on campus in the next few years, but as a freshman, it’s much less likely. Because you’ve probably been relying on it for the past several years as your primary means of transportation, you may not be used to traveling using other means. So you’ve left your car at home . . . now what?
The easiest, cheapest, and most common method of car-free travel is walking. Most college campuses are small enough to walk between your destinations without too much trouble. You don’t have to wait for a bus, beg for a ride, or get your bike ready. You can just lace up your shoes and go. Walking is the primary means of transportation for the vast majority of students. Many campuses are close enough to places like grocery stores, movie theatres, gas stations, liquor stores, and restaurants that you can get to almost everywhere that you need to go fairly easily.
If you have to go a little farther, such as across a big campus, or a few miles away to a grocery store or friend’s house, you may want to invest in a bike. Using CraigsList is a great way to get a bike without spending too much money. If you already have a bike, you don’t have to worry about this—just bring it to campus, keep it in your dorm room, or lock it up outside. While you can’t carry as many things on a bike as you can in a car, you can add a rack and panniers to your bike and have enough storage room for two grocery bags. This should be more than enough to get you through your day-to-day routine. Having a bike on campus makes living without a car much easier, and is often the best way for students to get around.
Mass transit is an efficient and environmentally-friendly way to get from place to place if you have to travel several miles very quickly. Many campuses offer free shuttle services between buildings or campuses. This provides the advantage of not having to walk from a bus stop to where you need to go; you can probably get dropped off right in front of it. If you need to go somewhere else, like to the mall, or downtown to the bars or clubs, you can hop on a city bus for a few bucks. It’s a lot cheaper than getting a cab, and you can fit a much larger group on a bus than in a car.
If you’re not planning on bringing a car to campus your freshmen year, there’s no need to worry about how to get around. If you can’t walk somewhere, you can probably bike there. If it’s too far to bike, hop a bus! You’ll learn very quickly which methods of transportation you’ll need while you’re in school, and you’ll find that living without a car is a lot easier than it may seem.