After years of high school with a car or a close friend with one who could take you anywhere, your parents have now dropped you off at your dorm room with seemingly no way to escape. That’s not a problem at first, and you check out all of the wonderful things Chapel Hill has to offer.
Soon though, that walk from South Campus becomes unbearable, and you crave to go anywhere outside of the comfort and familiarity of Chapel Hill.
If this sounds like you, have no fear! Public transportation is here to help. I’ll walk you through how to get from anywhere as close as across campus and as far away as across the state.
Chapel Hill Transit
Maybe you’ve already seen these beautiful Carolina blue buses everywhere around campus. All of these buses are completely free and are your best bet to get to Chapel Hill, Carrboro or across campus. If you download the NextBus app (available on iOS and Android), it’s super easy to track the exact location of these buses to plan your trip to perfection.
The U route, which runs on weekdays and weekends, is a great first bus to know if you live on South Campus, as it stops right in front of Horton Residence Hall and includes stops at Franklin Street and the Student Union.
If you want to head up to North Campus quickly for a morning class, I would recommend the RU, which stops in front of Ehringhaus Residence Hall and takes you right up Ridge Road to South Road and Cameron Avenue.
Craving a trip outside of Chapel Hill, but don’t want to go too far away? Try getting on the CW on South Columbia Street, which also runs on Saturdays, and take it to Carrboro where you can visit the Carrboro Farmers Market or see a show at Cat’s Cradle.
While most of these buses only run during the day, the P2P express runs daily from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m., has multiple stops on South Campus and is an easy way to get to and from Franklin Street late at night.
One of the best things about UNC is its location in the Research Triangle area. GoTriangle has a ton of different routes that can help you get around Durham, Raleigh and the surrounding areas for a small fee.
If you want to visit a friend at UNC’s little brother, a.k.a. N.C. State, you can pick up GoTriangle’s CRX in front of Student Stores and take it to N.C. State or downtown Raleigh.
I don’t know why you would want to, but if you want to visit that "school" in Durham, GoTriangle has you covered. Your best bet is to pick up the 400 in front of Carolina Coffee Shop on East Franklin Street for $2.25 and take it right to Duke University Hospital. Go Triangle also operates the Robertson Express (RSX) that picks up in front of the Morehead Planetarium nearly every half hour, and drops off at Duke Chapel. You can take this non-stop route for $3.00 one-way when classes are in session at Duke and UNC.
One thing that I’ve learned at UNC is that everyone, literally everyone, is from Charlotte. Luckily, if you’re from Charlotte, you can even take public transportation all the way home if need be.
To start your trip, I would suggest picking up the the CRX bus to the GoRaleigh station. From there you can take the 8 to Raleigh Union Station, or if you're feeling at your peak fitness level, walk about half a mile to the station.
Once at Raleigh Union Station, you can take daily round trips from Raleigh to Charlotte, or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can take the Carolinian all the way up to New York City.
There is also a Durham Amtrak station where you can take the same Amtrak train to Charlotte. Hop on the 405 route operated by GoTriangle at Morehead Planetarium to get to this station.
Learning how to use these transportation options will save your legs from getting tired, and it will save your wallet from paying for super expensive trips on Uber and Lyft, so I would highly recommend it.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.