Transit Basics 101

Whether you’re headed to work, class or just out for a day-trip, it’s important to be able to get where you need to be—safely and on time. So, as a second installment to my original lessons on how to ride, I’d like to answer a few questions that have come up over the last couple weeks at local university’s student orientations on how to get around the triangle.

 Of course, the first thing that every student wants to know is how much does it cost to ride the bus? All NC State students can ride Triangle Transit, CAT, and Cary Transit buses for free with a GoPass that they can get through the NCSU Transportation Office. Carolina Students can also use a GoPass for Triangle Transit and DATA buses through the Commuter Alternatives Program. Duke students are now with the cool kids and also have the GoPass to get to class. They can also use the Bull City Connector for free to go between the University and downtown Durham.

 The next question I usually get is how do I know which bus to take? GoTriangle offers a great resource on GoTriangle.org called the Trip Planner. All you need is your starting location and your end destination and the Trip Planner does the rest! Your trip results include the stop number to get on and off at, options for what times you’d like to travel, the route number of the bus you’re taking and the fare for your trip. Thanks to smartphones, if you are on the go and need to revise your planned trip, all local transit agencies are on Google Transit.  All trip information is in the same place where you would get driving directions on Google Maps! All you have to do is click the bus icon and it will show you the closest stop and the next scheduled bus.

 The question that parents always ask is how can my student get to the airport? Students can use TriangleTransit buses for free with their GoPass or pay the regular fare rate of only $2. Just remember the Triangle Transit route 100 will take you to the RDU terminals.

 If your destination is close enough, why not bike? Some students prefer to use a combination of ways to get around town, such as biking to a stop, then riding the bus. What do you do with your bike once you get to a stop? That’s easy– on all buses, there ‘s room for two bikes to be loaded on the front of the bus. If you happen to have a folding bike, you can bring that onboard with you, just make sure it’s in a bag first.

 For students who want more flexibility in getting around and don’t have cars available, there is a great new program popping up on college campuses called Zipcar. When I explain this program to students and their parents, most think it sounds too good to be true! Zipcar is a car rental program that makes it easy for students to use a car for a few hours, a day or even a whole weekend— you only have to be 18 to rent and all gas costs and insurance are covered in the cost of rental. Similarly, the Zimride network makes it easy to find others to carpool with. By logging in with your student ID, you gain access to a private network that allows students with similar destinations to get where they need to go at less cost and environmental impact than riding alone.

 Any other questions on how to ride? Post a comment and get answers!

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