BY WILLIE CLARK
Friday night. Orientation's done. It's your first weekend in Rochester. No curfew. You're ready to hit the town. One thing stands in your way: warp pipes don't surround your school, and you have no idea how to get anywhere. You haven't made friends with car-owning upperclassmen yet (put that on your to-do list), so how are you supposed to get out of the bubble that is your campus?
Fear not. That's where City Newspaper's Student Survival Guide comes in. We know where you want to go and how to get you there, and are willing to share our lovely transportation secrets. And as you continue along your college journey, remember to pick up City Newspaper, for free, every week for the inside scoop on all that is Rochester.
The rides you already paid for
Remember that big check that you (or your loving parents) wrote at the start of the summer? Most colleges have transportation programs that are completely free for you to use, so you get something for all that money you're spending in addition to that whole "education" thing.
MonroeCommunity College: Shuttle service available around campus, and starting in September, between the Brighton Campus and the Damon City Campus. (Departure point on the Brighton Campus is the Sports/Center Roads outside the Gilman Lounge, taking you to the Franklin Street Entrance to the SibleyBuilding at the Damon City Campus.) The new shuttle will run every half hour weekdays 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and then hourly until 9 p.m. Won't help you out on the weekends, however. Don't forget your ID card if you want to ride for free. For more information visit monroecc.edu/depts/pstd/mccshuttle.htm.
NazarethCollege: Free intercampus shuttle runs 6 a.m.-9 p.m. (8 p.m. on Friday) on any day that classes are in session. For a map of the shuttle route you can check naz.edu/dept/security_safety/parking.cfm.
Roberts Wesleyan: No transportation offered by the school. However, for a few weekends at the start of theterm, the Student Services Office runs shuttles to help you get integrated with the city and major shopping areas. You'll just have to find your own way there the rest of the year. And for getting around campus you'll have to rely on the world's oldest transportation method: the shoeleather express. For information on the orientation shuttles visit roberts.edu/Admissions/Undergraduate/CampusVisits/Orientation.
Rochester Institute of Technology: With its own, free shuttle that runs around campus locations, and an off-campus busing system (including late-night shuttles) that takes you to Marketplace Mall and other Henrietta shopping destinations, RIT has your bases covered. All lines are free to RIT ID holders. Maps can be found online at http://facilities.rit.edu/pats/transportation/shuttle.html.
St. John Fisher: There are three RTS bus stops on the Fisher campus, and passes are free to all students who live on campus (check the bookstore or the Campus Center Manager's Desk). For information on the off-campus bus routes visit http://home.sjfc.edu/sga/shuttle.asp. Fisher also has an on-campus shuttle that runs every 15 minutes 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekdays.You can find additional information and pick-up locations atsjfc.edu/campus-services/safety/parking.dot.
SUNY Brockport: Free with your Brockport ID, the Brockport Public Bus Service will get you around campus, the Brockport village proper, and to Walmart and Wegmans, but you'll need to rely on the RTS to get any further. RTS line 20 runs from MidtownPlaza to the Tower Fine Arts building on campus, but that line doesn't run after 6 p.m., so plan accordingly. Also, starting in fall 2010 off-campus students will be able to utilize a school-run car rental program for short trips. For more information on the Brockport bus options visit http://bsgonline.org/documents/OTS_Brockport_Schedule.pdf.
SUNY Geneseo:Geneseo's free-to-student bus service can get you to RIT, UR, Eastview, the airport, Little Theatre, and just about any place in between. Geneseo also has a late "knight" (the college's pun, not mine) shuttle on Friday and Saturdays during the academic year that will help you out until 3 a.m., cycling through campus and into the village. A special shuttle also runs at the start and end of each semester (and around breaks) that goes between campus and the airport, Amtrak station, and bus terminal. For more information check geneseo.edu/transportation/schedules.
University of Rochester: Free buses and shuttles to card-carrying UR students. The live online bus tracker on the shuttle websitelets you track buses in real time. Several different lines run frequently between the Eastman School of Music and various city attractions, including Marketplace Mall, the Public Market, and Wegmans. For more information, the bus tracker, and schedules check rochester.edu/parking/options/shuttle.html.
The rides you make your friends pay for:
Before you brave the city alone, take some friends. Why? Because there is safety -- and cheaper prices -- in numbers.Zipcars, a car-sharing program, is a great option for day trips, grocery runs, or for joy rides through the scenic wine country of the Finger Lakes. UR has three Zipcar locations, one each at the River Campus and Eastman Campus, and one at the Medical Center (visit zipcar.com/rochester/), and Geneseo provides one (see zipcar.com/geneseo/). For a nominal $35 annual fee (which you can split between multiple people on one account), you can reserve vehicles starting at $7/hour. That nets you the car, gas, and insurance coverage, and 180 free miles for each rental period. Can't buy a nice bike for that.
The rides that you actually have to pay for (but not much):
So you have no friends, don't know how to drive, and you still want to go out and party? We won't judge your priorities, but Rochester also has another, public transportation option: the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, which runs the Regional Transit Service (RTS for short) buses that you will see frequently around Rochester and your campuses.
The RTS bus system, however, is anything but perfect. Most of the routes go through downtown Rochester, even if you don't want to go there, or it is very, very out of your way. And depending on where you're going, it could take a while. For instance, if you wanted to get from UR to Nazareth, it could take anywhere from one to three hours, depending on the time of day. You'll often also have to transfer buses, sometimes walking from one stop to another mid-route.
The flip side: rides are dirt cheap, with the adult fare starting at just $1. There are no college student-specific discounts, but discounted day passes are also available. Times of buses all depend on which line you are taking, so make sure to plan accordingly. You can find out all about RTS and its various schedules, routes and fares, by visiting rgrta.org.
Depending on which college you're attending, an RGRTA-run bus shuttle may be your only choice. Or it may be a choice sponsored by your college, such as RIT's dedicated route, which makes it a more attractive option than the non-student specific routes that can be a pain to navigate.