And for visitors looking to enjoy the sights and sounds of Chapel Hill and UNC's campus without a pricey rental car, the situation can seem insurmountable.
But there are ways -- free ways -- to travel around UNC, Chapel Hill and the Triangle.
Thanks to a cooperative effort from the University and the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, all bus lines that serve those areas are completely free of charge.
Fare-free busing was initiated in January.
It is designed to increase the use of mass transit in the downtown and surrounding areas, thereby relieving some of the driving and parking problems that have arisen as the area has developed.
The on-campus U bus travels through the heart of UNC, making stops on South Campus, the main Pit area and Franklin Street.
Other bus lines, such as the C or J lines, serve Carrboro and the Chapel Hill suburbs.
Because on-campus parking is tight, there exist the P and PR parking lots, two off-campus park-and-ride complexes.
Riders can access the lots by taking the NU line, which runs from campus up Airport Road to the fenced-in, gated areas.
After 7 p.m., the town bus lines call it a night.
But that doesn't mean you have to hoof it all the way from Hinton James Residence Hall to Lenoir Dining Hall. Enter the Point-2-Point Xpress. The P2P is a University-sponsored route tailored specifically for the needs of car-less UNC students.
Traveling all the way from South Campus to Granville Towers, Rosemary and Franklin Streets, the P2P is an ideal way to get where you need to go.
The best part is that the line continues running until 3 a.m. seven days a week.
For those students traveling far and wide at major breaks, the Out of State Students Association sponsors free shuttle rides to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
At the major breaks, including spring and fall breaks, the shuttles run every hour from Chase Dining Hall and the Student Recreation Center bus stops.
The shuttles can also bring you back to campus when returning from some restful time spent at home.
Katy Schoenbeck, student services coordinator for the OSSA, said finding transportation home for out-of-state students is not that difficult. "If you have friends with cars, that's great," she said. "But the buses run all the time."
Schoenbeck said the shuttles tend to be used the least during Spring Break but see a lot of patrons on the return trips from most breaks.
"The shuttles leave from Terminal A and then drop the kids back on campus," she said. "You can always get home."
Several taxi services also run through Chapel Hill and Carrboro, including Able Taxi, Airport and Intown Taxi, Carolina Taxi, Tar Heel Taxi and University Taxi.
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