Every year, when we return to campus in the fall, nothing makes us feel more at home here in Chapel Hill than seeing the Carolina Blue Chapel Hill Transit buses. Here at The Daily Tar Heel, we’re avid fans of public transportation, and the UNC bus routes are no exception.
Whether it's the RU, U, NS, G, A or even the P2P, each bus route has its own flair and character. For some, there is a certain je ne sais quoi. Maybe it is the stops along the way, the people who ride alongside you or the simple serotonin boost of yelling, “Thank you!” to the bus driver as you get off. The heart of Chapel Hill is not UNC, the Dean Dome or Franklin Street — it is the Chapel Hill Transit buses. Live. Laugh. Love. Chapel. Hill. Transit.
Yes, there are certain routes that are more popular than others (we’re looking at you, V). Still, the Editorial Board came together to compile an accurate and foolproof ranking of the various bus routes in Chapel Hill. Considering factors like timeliness, location, access to campus and just that special something, here are the Editorial Board’s favorite bus routes.
Books could be written about the adventures had on the P2P. There is nothing like the fear of being slightly intoxicated and being on a bus going 30 miles an hour as it hits every curb in sight. The P2P is a savior for night owls and the hottest ride for first-years (albeit before COVID-19, RIP). As the name suggests, the P2P is always on point by getting places on time, sometimes even compromising the safety of passengers (it's OK, though, because there's always some sick beats playing in the background). What puts the P2P so high on our list is our collective memories of late nights zooming through Chapel Hill, praying we wouldn’t fly out of our seats.
U (and its partner in crime, the RU):
The poster child of Chapel Hill Transit. What would we do without her? We have so many fond memories of catching a ride to Franklin Street on the weekends to pick up snacks at Target. Of running to catch the bus to class from our dorms on South Campus as first-years. Life will never be that good or that simple again.
The NS is a MUST if you live anywhere off of MLK. Don’t want to walk up that unreasonably long and steep hill to get to class? Then don’t! Sit back, relax in CHT’s somewhat comfortable seats and let the NS take you there instead.
Bonus: sometimes the NS is actually two buses linked together in the middle and it has double the occupancy (plus, it kind of looks like a caterpillar).
You might think Chapel Hill doesn’t have a roller coaster, but you’d be wrong. One of the many pleasures that comes from riding on the chaotic NU route is the tight, seemingly pointless roundabout in the middle of the RR lot’s traffic pattern. You haven’t experienced true joy — or the hidden Chapel Hill roller coaster — if you haven’t been on the bus and watched the trees lightly brush the windows as the 40-footer whips around a cul-de-sac.
The NU forever and always will have our heart, a dependable mode of transportation to get you to your car in the RR lot. By the transitive property, the NU can take you anywhere. You can enjoy the feeling of waiting in the dark RR lot after a local government meeting, realizing with each passing minute that the NU bus driver had decided to end their night early (they deserved the break), and there you are, stuck, alone among the tall pines and chain-link fences. Thank you, NU, for all the memories.
We love her. What other bus route could take us directly from our apartment to University Place?
Answer: None. The G is unmatched. That is all.
Honorable mention: GoTriangle
As cool as our free bus system is, GoTriangle may be the apple of our eye. The idea that you can pay a measly $2.25 and get almost anywhere in the Triangle within an hour? Unbelievable. As stressful as it is to shove your dollar bills into the slot with a line of people waiting behind you, nothing will ever be as exhilarating as watching the bus zip down the shoulder to bypass that rush-hour traffic.
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