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A guide to transportation alternatives across UNC's campus, Chapel Hill and Carrboro

A bus stops on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Pictured on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022.

When coming to UNC, students have the option to utilize Chapel Hill's free public transit system, ride the P2P or walk and bike in local greenways to get around.

Whether you're planning your route to class or making your way to Franklin Street, there are many different ways to navigate the campus and local community. Here is what you need to know to get around UNC's campus, Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Chapel Hill Transit 

The second largest transit system in North Carolina, Chapel Hill Transit offers 31 fare-free bus routes operating on weekends and weekdays. 

CHT operates Monday through Friday from 5:00 a.m. to 1:15 a.m., Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., with the exception of University breaks and most holidays.

Free public transit is something that the town wants to offer equally and accessibly, Emily Powell, CHT community outreach manager, said.

“Everybody has the right to get to where they need to go,” she said. “And we don't want transportation to be the reason that you can't get to work, or you can't get to the grocery store or you can't get to your education.”

CHT also offers EZ-Rider, an on demand, origin-to-destination service for those who have a documented disability that prevents them from using the fixed route services. EZ-Rider is available on a reservation basis on the Town of Chapel Hill's website.

As of March 2023, all CHT buses have been updated with tracking technology to streamline their use. Users can download the NextBus or TransLoc apps for information about nearby bus stops, routes and real-time updates on departure and arrival times. NextBus can also direct users to walking directions, setting alerts and agency information.


Also trackable via the TransLoc app, the P2P is UNC's on-campus shuttle service that offers both on-demand and fixed route services during normal working hours and after dark. 

Students can use the P2P Express or Baity Hill Shuttle between the hours of 7 p.m. and 3 a.m., operating every 20 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively. 

The P2P also offers accessibility transportation services to authorized passengers and campus health transportation for non-emergency rides. 

The P2P is a popular transportation alternative among students, sophomore Sindhu Damodaran said.

“The P2P is fairly crowded most of the time and I just feel safer,” she said. “Also, the walk from my dorm from the P2P stop is only a minute.”

The P2P Express route extends along Franklin Street and near many of the student residence halls, including Granville and those on South Campus.

“It’s a long walk. I would not want to do that alone,” sophomore Sabrina Garcia-Trejo said. 

Bike and pedestrian access

Students often opt to travel by bike or foot across Chapel Hill and Carrboro on the available bike lanes, greenways and trails.

As of fall 2022, the League of American Bicyclists awarded Chapel Hill and Carrboro silver awards for being bicycle friendly communities. Chapel Hill has been working to improve bike mobility through projects such as a resurfacing and repainting project in September to provide additional visibility to bike lanes along Franklin Street.

The University also launched a micromobility program with Spin in April to provide a paid bike sharing service across campus. Bike sharing services have been implemented in Chapel Hill since 2017 and have since been adapted to support e-bikes through the Spin mobile app.

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Many trails and walkways also help connect residential areas, shopping centers, parks and schools, as well as UNC's campus.

Most notably, the Bolin Creek Trail is a 2.5 mile trail connecting the Chapel Hill Community Center, Umstead Park, the Northside neighborhood and Downtown Chapel Hill. The 10' wide trail is open to both foot and bike travel, with parking available at the Community Center Park, Umstead Park and along Bolinwood Drive.

These little-to-no cost transportation services connect UNC students to the local community in a variety of accessible ways.

@DTHCityState | 

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