A beginner's guide to campus busses

By Jamal Collier

The CUMTD bus system: Your first new friend on campus.

While it may not look like it now, the winter is a true and harsh reality come December in Urbana- Champaign. When you are finished cramming for that final exam you should have started studying for last week, you begin the long trek home through the blistering cold from the library only to realize you could have avoided the freezing temperatures. Your friends at Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District are here to help.

CUMTD is the bus service in and around campus and the greater Champaign-Urbana area that can serve as a lifesaver for student travel.

The University is a very walkable campus but just like all of us have experienced, you are going to have one of those mornings where the snooze button was hit one too many times, and what seemed to be a reasonable 9 a.m. class is now starting in 10 minutes. The CUMTD system is a very efficient system and can get you to that one really far away building that nobody warned you about for your first freshman class.

FREE and of course, there’s an APP for that.

The first question I would have would be “how much does this service cost?” Luckily for you, the service is free with proof of an I-CARD. Simply show the bus driver your student ID and you will be on your way. Also, at every stop there are update boards with the most current timetable for when the next bus will be arriving to that spot.

However, some days, you want to look at the schedule before you step out into the dog days of January. By downloading the CU Buses application to your smartphone, you can get a minute-by-minute update on when the next bus is approaching to your desired location. You can even make a game of it and race your friends to the stop, as the app counts down the minutes you have to make the bus. And if you do not have a smartphone, don’t worry; the timetables are always available at the stop itself or at cumtd.com.

I’m feeling 22

The 22 Illini North and South buses are the heartbeat of campus. Whether you are a freshman and need to be picked up at Ikenberry Commons or PAR, or a senior living in ONE apartments on Lincoln Avenue in Urbana, the 22 has you covered. Coming to each stop almost every 10 minutes, the buses will get you to where you need to go. The 22 follows a route that can take you from your dorm to the engineering quad, as well as all the way to Goodwin avenue, where you will find the computer science buildings, The Krannert Center for Performing Art, Richmond TV Studios and more; with the main quad and other academic buildings in between.

#1 in mom’s book

If you are worried about trying to find a way to get to the train station or bus stop to get home for a weekend or break, you don’t have to bother a friend to drive you to the station. The 1 Yellow North and South will get you to that station and back to campus in 10 minutes, so you can say those last-minute goodbyes, or get out of a sticky roommate situation in a flash. The 1 Yellow also goes through the heart of campus, and can be used to get to and from class like the 22, depending on where your classes are.

Transit Plaza

Transit Plaza on Wright Street is the bus hub for all of campus and the C-U area. A 5-10 minute walk from Green Street, and just outside Lincoln Hall on the main quad, this bus stop is home to nearly every bus available, and can get you anywhere you need to go. With a Starbucks in the Illini Union Bookstore across the street, you can simply pop in, grab a coffee, and take a bus to wherever your heart desires. Transit Plaza is just one of many conveniently-located bus stops throughout campus. The variety in location pick-ups allows the bus system to run effectively and it can serve almost the entire student population, no matter where they are living.

Safety First

While the buses run until the early hours of the morning, there are some scenarios, where a certain line may not be running, or you have ended your night nowhere near a bus stop. That’s where Safe Rides comes in. Safe Rides is a limited service through CUMTD that can be called to pick up students starting from 5 p.m. or 7 p.m., depending on the season, until 6 a.m. to ensure a safe ride home. Why risk the walk back alone when you can simply call Safe Rides and ensure your safety in the early hours of the morning.

Hop on!

The CUMTD bus system on campus is extremely useful and important for students to familiarize themselves with, as it will make navigating campus for a first-year student much easier. While we all want to walk and de-bunk the myth of the freshman 15, there are some days where we need a little help in the morning to get to class, and CUMTD always has your back.

Joey is a senior in Media.

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