Community members in Chapel Hill and Carrboro have access to free public transportation, as well as walking and biking routes. UNC students can also use these transportation resources to travel around campus and explore the surrounding area.
Here's what you need to know about getting around Chapel Hill and Carrboro as a student.
The Chapel Hill and Carrboro community is connected by over 20 bus routes operated by Chapel Hill Transit during weekdays. There are nine routes that run on weekends.
Chapel Hill Transit services UNC’s campus with routes such as the U and RU, which circulate campus every 10 to 15 minutes on weekdays.
The Point-to-Point, or P2P, is a shuttle that services UNC residence halls, Franklin Street and Granville Towers every night between 7:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. at no charge. It also provides rides to and from Campus Health Services and other University facilities.
Additionally, Chapel Hill Transit has a late night bus, Safe Ride, that operates three routes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights while the University is in session, according to the program's website.
Lauryn Walker, a rising sophomore majoring in biology and neuroscience, said she has become more comfortable using the buses for efficient and reliable transportation from her dorm on South Campus and in the surrounding community.
“I think when you first get to school you don't really know how to use it, so you mostly rely on walking, but as I got more comfortable, I started taking the bus more often,” she said.
Jeffrey Sullivan, community outreach manager for Chapel Hill Transit, said that bus schedules and routes are made easily accessible through the NextBus and TransLoc apps.
However, real-time tracking on both systems may continue to be down for about the next 10 weeks while their equipment is upgraded to 4G networks, Sullivan said.
Both Sullivan and Walker said Google Maps is a helpful resource for estimating bus arrival times while the equipment is upgraded. Chapel Hill Transit also offers service updates on its Twitter.
Sullivan said Chapel Hill Transit is currently functioning with around 30 fewer operators than they need to provide their full services. He asked that riders be patient with reduced service levels and bus operators.
Despite the difficulties faced by public transport in Chapel Hill, Walker has enjoyed her experience riding the buses on campus and in the community.
“I really do like the buses on campus," she said. "And I think that we have a really efficient system."
Environmentally conscious transportation
Along with public transit like the bus systems, Chapel Hill and Carrboro encourage walking and biking as efficient and environmentally conscious modes of transportation.
“Chapel Hill and Carrboro take great pains and great care to try to create a safe and walkable environment and community,” Sullivan said.
John Rees, president of the Bicycle Alliance of Chapel Hill, believes that biking is ideal for students’ commutes, but also said that neither Chapel Hill nor Carrboro are completely safe for bikers.
“The towns need to do more, and I think both towns, to a certain extent, are aware of that,” he said. “They just need a lot more support from the citizens of the towns.”
Sullivan said that Chapel Hill Transit is working to encourage a stronger reliance on biking and walking in Carrboro, and the first step is making it safe enough for people to want to leave their cars behind.
In the meantime, Rees suggests that students plan their routes ahead, use greenways for safer traveling, ensure their bikes are in good condition and, when driving on roads, emulate driving etiquette to remain predictable.
Overall, Rees encouraged that students bike to campus and around the community.
“For short trips, nothing beats a bicycle,” he said.
For students who are walking home at night, SafeWalk is a program that provides a free walk with fellow UNC students who are trained by the N.C. Department of Public Safety.
The program operates Sunday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. and services to locations both on and off campus. UNC students can request SafeWalk services by calling (919) 962-SAFE (7233), reserving a walk through the organization's Calendly or approaching a SafeWalk team outside Davis Library.
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