Easiest ways to Chicago from campus

The+Illinois+Terminal%2C+located+on+45+E.+University+Ave.+provides+Amtrak+and+bus+services+for+patrons+to+travel+to+another+city+or+state.

Patrick Li

The Illinois Terminal, located on 45 E. University Ave. provides Amtrak and bus services for patrons to travel to another city or state.

By Ashley Rayan, Contributing Writer

Going home for the weekend is supposed to be a relaxing experience. But with many options, times and locations, figuring out exactly how to head home can feel like more trouble than it’s worth.

So if you’re looking to make a visit home to Chicago for a weekend, you’ve got a couple of options. Each one has a different price, so look through each of these options to see which one is right for you.

Buses

The most popular method to get home is by bus. The most used options are Peoria Charter, Suburban Express and Greyhound. Peoria Charter and Suburban Express both offer pickup locations at several places on campus such as the Armory, ISR and Altgeld, and drop-off locations in the Chicago suburbs such as Old Orchard and Woodfield Mall.

A one way ticket from ISR to O’Hare International Airport typically ranges between $30 to $35, depending on the day of travel. Greyhound, on the other hand, only has one pickup or drop-off location in Champaign at the Intermodal Transport Center, a short bus ride away from campus. Although it doesn’t offer as many suburban stops as Peoria Charter and Suburban Express, a one way ticket from Champaign to Chicago generally costs between $10 to $15, depending on the date of travel.

Trains

Another popular mode of travel is by train. The most popular option, Amtrak, has a close location at the Station Building in Champaign, only a 20-minute walk from the Ikenberry resident halls. It only offers one stop in Chicago at Union Station. Tickets purchased well in advance can be as low as $10 with options to upgrade to a premium ticket, while also providing additional discounts for students.

Trains provide a less crowded and often smoother ride back to the suburbs because there is no stop-and-go traffic. Pickups and drop-offs are at Union Station, the perfect link between Amtrak and Metra trains to get to the smaller Chicago suburbs. With a Metra ticket ranging between $2 to $9, it provides a cost efficient and smooth ride home.

Rideshare programs

Rideshare programs, although not nearly as popular as the options listed above, are another growing trend. A Facebook group named “University of Illinois Rideshare Group” helps connect students going home for the weekend with students needing rides. Passengers help pitch in for gas, and in turn get a ride home.

It’s a cost effective option as well as being time efficient, since the drivers probably won’t be making as many out-of-the-way stops as a bus or train would. Another easier option is to organize a carpool with friends from high school. If everyone chips in for gas, it’s often the fastest, cheapest and most efficient way to return home. 

Ashley is a freshman in LAS

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