There’s no question — walking is the simplest option for getting around campus. One advantage is consistency — chances are it will take you the same amount of time whenever you walk the same route, regardless of traffic. Hellish in August but pleasant by October, the benefits of walking depend largely on the weather. You might want to employ Google Maps to get rough travel time estimates when planning your class schedule — going from Peabody Hall to the Science Learning Center in 15 minutes is possible, but you’ll have to fast-walk, or run.
Using four wheels is also an option, but most freshmen are required to live on campus and tend to have walkable commutes. Beware the midday traffic on campus, and watch out when driving through pedestrian-heavy areas during class changes. If you do choose to drive, you’ll need somewhere to leave your car. Know that parking passes are expensive, though, and you probably won’t get the spot you want. About 19,000 passes are available for a university community of 48,000 — students, faculty and staff included.
Zooming around campus offers its own challenges and perks. Riding up UGA’s hills is more strenuous than walking, but flying down them offers a nice breeze in hot weather. If you’re like me, you can hit snooze in the morning knowing that biking takes one-third as much time as walking. Several of UGA’s busier streets have bike lanes that give you some breathing room, but it’s always good to wear a helmet and keep your wits about you. Rule of thumb — avoid riding on sidewalks.
The UGA buses are a sustainable way to get around campus semi-quickly without the bother of a parking pass or the near-death experience of biking next to a pick-up truck. Timing, along with choosing the right route, is key. Know that the buses are more crowded in the middle of the day, especially if it’s raining — if you don’t elbow your way onto that North-South at the Tate Center, you could be waiting for the next one. The UGA app comes in handy for this option, showing you where each route stops and when the next bus will come. University and Athens-Clarke County buses are free for students, though you’ll need your student ID to ride the city buses.