Of Bikes and Busses

Moving to a city means many new changes: more people, less open space, and (of course) expensive parking rates. Some students have a hard time leaving their cars at home when they come to college. However, rather than paying for the sky-high prices of cramped parking stalls, take advantage of the cost-effective and accessible options right on campus! From biking to buses, students don’t have to sacrifice savings for efficiency.


Biking is one of the most common transportation options in Madison and not just for students. In fact, the number of bikes in the city surpasses the number of cars!¹ With recognition from the League of American Bicyclists and the Wisconsin Bike Federation, students can grab a set of wheels and hit our downtown lanes with confidence. Make sure to lock your bike and wear a helmet.

Don’t have a bike of your own? Bikeshare programs such as Madison BCycle allow you to enjoy the convenience of riding to class, without needing to invest in a new bike. Instead, borrow one of their 350 shared bicycle from a bike stations at 35 central location. Then, simply return it to another one near your target destination. BCycle rentals are ideal for short trips to and from class or a quick ride to the Union. This year, BCycle is offering all first-year students a free membership, which they can take advantage of using the promo code that was emailed to their UW-Madison email address.

Another especially convenient method for getting around campus (and Madison in general) is hopping aboard a Madison Metro bus. Although the 80 route is completely free to all, students can enjoy the full range of route options by picking up their ASM free student bus pass at the beginning of the semester. Whether you’re venturing off campus to do some shopping or just need to buzz down the street for class, the public bus system can take you nearly anywhere in town! Even students who may be unfamiliar with the bus system can learn to utilize this resource by using apps such as GoogleMaps and the ‘Bus’ function in the Wisconsin app. These tools can tell you what bus stops are nearest to you, what routes will get you to a specific location, and even the exact arrival time of your bus.

Even if you plan to travel outside of Madison, there are ways to do so without requiring your own car. For example, a variety of motor coaches (i.e. Van Galder Coach, MegaBus, Badger Bus, etc.) make stops in Madison, allowing out-of-state and international students to get to O’Hare airport in Chicago, nearby Midwestern metropolises such as Minneapolis, and countless other locations. With comfortable seating, wifi and outlet access, and a driver who will do all the work for you; passengers can kick back and relax without worrying about a GPS or gas money.


Although many area businesses, services, and resources are within walking distance, we know that not all student transportation needs can be met on foot. Don’t burden yourself with the high prices and tricky parking regulations that come with bringing a car to campus. Instead, stop by one of the 44 conveniently located BCycle stations for an easy downtown journey or hop on one of the Madison Metro busses. No matter your method of choice, remember that resources are at your disposal to create your ultimate Wisconsin Experience!

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