It’s time for Wash. U. students to get comfortable with alternative transportation

Diva Harsoor | Contributing Writer

With our free U-Passes, it is easy to say that Washington University students should take full advantage of St. Louis’ public transit system. Of course, for people who are navigationally challenged like me, this is easier said than done.

A few weeks ago, I had just left a Wash. U. Green Ambassadors (WUGA) meeting at the new Office of Sustainability space in the Pav (which is what we’re calling Shnuck Pavilion), and I really just wanted to go back home. But at a humid 96 degrees, walking all the way back to the South 40 seemed impossible. I had only taken the Circulator a couple times, so I wasn’t sure of the route, but a fellow WUGA kindly gave me directions. Except, as we have discussed, I am navigationally challenged. I went to the wrong bus stop, and I got on the wrong bus. The well-intentioned bus driver dropped me off near another bus and told me to take that one. It was hot outside, my phone was dead and I didn’t know what I was doing, so I listened to her. But that bus took me even further from campus. I realized that the farther I got, the harder it would be to walk back in the heat, so I ended up going all the way to the end of the line. Two and a half hours and a great deal of stress later, I finally made it back to the same place I had started.

But no matter how navigationally challenged you are, your first experience with St. Louis public transit can be more positive than mine. After my fifteen-mile trip from the East End to the South 40, I decided I had some learning to do. And luckily for you, I am sharing my newfound knowledge in this very article.

First off, provided your phone is not dead, if you just put your destination into Google Maps and hit the public transit option, it will tell you exactly where to walk and how long to wait. You can also download the app “Transit,” which will give you a list of all the public transit options in your area, when and where they are arriving and their entire routes. If your phone is dead, or you, like me, still need help getting oriented, here is some information that is good to know.

In addition to the Circ, there are 4 buses that make their way around campus: the Green Line and the 1 stay around the area, while the 2 and the 16 will take you off campus. There are two MetroLink light rail stops on Danforth campus: the University City-Big Bend stop is on Forest Park Parkway, past Frat Row, by Millbrook Pharmacy and Domino’s. This is the one most often used by Wash. U. students. The Skinker stop is right near Kayak’s, on the intersection of N. Skinker Boulevard and Forest Park Parkway. There are also MetroLink stops in Forest Park, the Medical Campus, and the Delmar Loop.

Embracing public transit has helped me do much more than avoid ending up on the opposite side of the city when I only wanted to go to the South 40. There are plenty of reasons a Wash. U. student might actually want to end up elsewhere in St. Louis. If you don’t want to prowl all 5 levels of Olin looking for a solitary spot, try taking the MetroLink Blue Line to Central Library for high ceilings and a change of pace. If you’re over paying a dollar for a single orange at Schnuck’s, the same line can get you to ALDI, which is equally tasty and way more affordable. If you take music lessons, play in the orchestra or want a music practice room, take the Green Line to the 560 Music Center. Try it out – it’s time for Wash. U. students to get comfortable with public transit.

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