Freshmen Transportation Preview: From Buses to Bikes

Students ride on a UConn Transportation bus. The buses on campus can be great options, especially on cold, rainy or snowy days. Tracking the buses can be done with several different smartphone apps. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

Freshmen have to consider a lot when it comes to finding their way around campus. The University of Connecticut is so big, in fact, that many students struggle with just physically getting around. Fortunately, the majority of freshmen living on campus will have access to excellent resources as far as getting to where one needs to go.

The buses on campus can be great options, especially on cold, rainy or snowy days. Tracking the buses can be done with an app that can be downloaded to a smartphone. “myUConn” is many students' preferred choice, as several other apps are outdated or suffer malfunctions, though even “myUConn” can experience issues at times.

Biking or skateboarding around campus is a great way to get around campus until it starts snowing or the sidewalks freeze over. The fall semester and early spring semester will definitely have plenty of cold days. Just be prepared, and be aware of the weather conditions before you start hiking across campus.

The myUConn app as it appears on a smartphone. (Screenshot)

Something else to know is that it can get very windy on campus, which will make those rainy, snowy or freezing days exponentially worse. While it can certainly pick up your speed if you are walking in the same direction the wind is blowing, but travel time can definitely be affected negatively too.

For those who may have the rare circumstance of being a student with their own car, maybe even living off-campus, then you are in a very different situation from those relying on public transportation.

I was a transfer student and a commuter, living off-campus my first semester at UConn, which is a fairly unique situation to find one’s self in. That had some really great advantages, but the disadvantages were also felt and it made some days tense and stressful.

There is a lot to prepare for, but I can tell you that, when I was ready, I loved being able to drive wherever, whenever. In the spring, summer and fall, most of the problems commuting students will experience revolve around knowing where to park, and traffic.

If someone lives within 10 minutes of campus in a neighboring town such as Willington, Stafford Springs, Mansfield or Coventry, one may think commuting is easy. It is not. Deception, thy name is Route 195.

I had to be in my car and driving to campus at 8 a.m. in order to make my 9 a.m. classes, because 195 is a soul sucking strip of road. If at all possible, avoid 195 in the morning.  I went through a lot of trial and error before I realized this for myself.

Another detail for commuters to consider is the fact that there are only a handful of places to park around any given area of campus. Depending on what time you arrive, you may find yourself walking a fair distance to your class, but just finding a parking space can be a challenge.
The solution for many of these problems is simply to get up early enough to commute on 195 and account for the time to walk to class. It seems simple, but do not take that for granted, especially if you are coming off of a long night.

For most freshmen, commuting definitely balks in lieu of living on campus and being able to walk, bike, skateboard, rollerblade or even unicycle (yes, unicycle, although those can be rare) to where one has to be.  The trade-off is one will not have to spend a ridiculous amount on room and board.

Transportation, whether in the form of a car, bus or your own two legs, can be hassle at UConn if you are unprepared. If you take the right steps, however, you may manage to get to class warm and on time, while your classmates are coming in shivering and late.


Matthew Gilbert is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.gilbert@uconn.edu.