Staff Editorial: Transportation options

Not owning a car can be difficult. Too often, it means bugging friends for rides, trudging to class on frigid mornings, and making the exhausting hike up and down the Approach just to visit a friend at Blitman or grab a bite to eat downtown. Living close to campus can mitigate some of these problems, but ultimately, there’s so much to see and do in and around campus that some form of transportation will be necessary.

In order to help, the campus shuttles have recently added a few extra stops to their usual Saturday morning route, including one that stops at Monument Square downtown. Stationed next to the Farmer’s Market, which runs every Saturday, as well as a number of excellent downtown restaurants, the new stop represents a great opportunity for students without a car to get off campus and explore various resources and opportunities.

The new shuttle stop is a welcome addition to a number of useful public transportation options that were already available to students and will surely become even more essential as the weather gets colder and walking longer distances becomes more arduous. To buy snacks, basic necessities, games and far more, students can take CDTA line 87 from 15th Street near the Rensselaer Union to Walmart, Price Chopper, and GameStop. These resources sell many of the basics that all college students need, often at a fraction of the price charged by Father’s or other on-campus stores.

Another great resource available through the CDTA line 286, which departs from the Union horseshoe 15 minutes and 45 minutes after the beginning of a new hour (6:15, 6:45, 7:15, and so on). The 286 will take you through downtown at Myrtle Avenue and Congress Street, then up through some of the residential areas around Troy, including Tibbits Avenue and Sunset Terrace. It’s worth noting that some of the larger greek organizations that aren’t located on 15th Street are quite easily accessible through the 286, making it possible to go out and socialize during a party or any other event.

While public transportation for RPI and the capital district as a whole is by no means perfect, and some places can take far longer to reach by bus than by car–the most egregious of these is certainly Crossgates Mall, which is roughly a 15 minute drive from campus but can take nearly two hours to reach through the CDTA after transferring in downtown Albany–students shouldn’t feel restricted by their lack of a car. The RPI shuttles are expanding in exciting ways, and the CDTA buses remain a solid option for students to get out of their rooms and explore the city.