Navigating the CU bus system


Ben Tschetter

Students climb aboard an MTD bus on Feb. 23.

By Rachael Bolek, Managing Editor for Online

Champaign-Urbana is surprisingly big. This isn’t something I realized until I started walking everywhere. Each trip took me about 20 minutes, which doesn’t seem like much until you’re running late for class.

Luckily, there are numerous buses on campus that run at all hours of the day. As a first-year student at the University, you probably won’t have a car with you, so taking advantage of this transportation will be vital to an easier commute. Plus, you pay a mandatory fee that allows free boarding on Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District buses with an i-card, so you might as well use what you’re already paying for.

Below details different uses for various buses.

13N/13S; 130N/130S (Silver)

This bus was convenient for me when I lived at Florida Avenue Residence Hall. The stop is right across the street from the dorm, and it took me right to where I needed to be for classes. You can take the 13 to the Illini Union, which is great for any classes on the north side of the Main Quad or on the Engineering Quad. It also stops at Transit Plaza, which is perfect for any classes in the English Building or in Lincoln Hall. Also, the 13N stops at Armory and Wright, which is good for classes in the Armory, Main Library or Gregory Hall. However, if you’re taking the 13S, your stop is Wright and Chalmers for these buildings.

12E/12W; 120E/120W (Teal)

This is the bus you should take if you’re trying to get to Campus Recreation Center East (often referred to as CRCE), the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts or downtown Champaign. I recommend visiting downtown Champaign at least once during your first year on campus; there are many nice coffee shops and bakeries, and it’s great place to walk around on a fall day. You’ll get off at Illinois Terminal, but make sure to have your i-card on you, as you’ll need it to board the bus on your way back.

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22N/22S; 220N/220S (Illini)

These buses will take you almost anywhere you need to go. Some stops worth noting are Illinois Street Residence Hall, the Main Library, the Activities and Recreation Center, and ONE Illinois North and South apartments. I highly recommend checking that you get on these buses at the right stop, as getting on at the wrong place may lead to you going to many more stops than anticipated (and trust me, this bus makes many stops).

5E/5W; 50E/50W (Green)

If you’re trying to get somewhere on Green Street, these buses will take you there. Make sure you know when they’re set to arrive, as they don’t run as often as other buses do. You’ll have to have your i-card with you to board, but traveling this way can save you a lot of time if planned correctly. If you live in Urbana, as I did last year, I highly recommend taking this bus, especially once winter arrives and walking isn’t as appealing. If you’re trying to go west on Green Street, some convenient stops are the Illini Union and Neil Street.

1N; 1S (Yellow)

Do you want to go to the mall or to Walmart? This is the bus you’ll need to take. However, make sure to plan your time accordingly, as a trip to either of these places will take about 30 minutes. Spending the time is worth it, though, as you can save any money you would’ve spent on an Uber or Lyft and put it toward your shopping fund.

The biggest pieces of advice I have are: give yourself extra time if you’re taking a new bus and pay attention to which bus you’re getting on. I’ll never forget the time I mistakenly got on the 220N instead of the 120E my freshman year, turning a 10-minute commute into a 45-minute trip back to my dorm.

For more information on the C-U bus system, check out CUMTD’s website.

Rachael is a senior in Media.
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