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Maneuvering Around Amherst Without a Car

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UMass Amherst bus app screenshot

I don’t own a car. No matter how many times I’ve asked my parents for one, the answer is always no. All my friends have cars, and I can use my parents' cars when they’re not, so driving has technically never been a problem for me. Yet, I still don’t have the convenience or satisfaction of calling a car my own. Currently, I’m waiting until I save enough money for one.

If you plan on coming to college in the same situation as me, UMass Transit Services provide free regional transportation through Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) to students, which has made my wait extremely convenient. You can take these buses anywhere in the Five College area, including Amherst, Hadley, Holyoke, and Northampton. These buses are open to anyone in the Valley who needs them (I take a PVTA to get my daily cup of Starbucks in Amherst). You can download the PVTA app, which shows the schedules of when the buses come, and where each bus will stop at. There are several bus stops located all around campus, so getting to the bus is never a problem.

 

Peter Pan buses come several times a week and pass through Boston, Albany, Hartford (and more), and go to train stations if you need to take Amtrak. I’m not even from Massachusetts, but getting home for me is surprisingly easy with Peter Pan and Amtrak at my disposal. I know a lot of people from the Boston area, and getting home for them is just a quick Peter Pan ride away. A lot of students don’t utilize this enough, but if you’re going to an airport, there are specific shuttles and private services sponsored through the school that will take you. If the numerous options for getting around the area all fail, Uber exists too!

 

There are a lot of ways to travel to neighboring towns, across Massachusetts, and even out of the state here at UMass. While having my own car would be ideal, UMass makes traveling in the area easy. As someone who never had a car on campus, I can vouch that it really hasn’t been an issue — almost all of the students here use the bus system provided by the school. In the meantime, I’m saving money on parking!

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Fall 2019 was a particularly exciting semester for me -- I began working two jobs on campus, I joined a sorority, and I became a member of the Commonwealth Honors College (CHC) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. For the first time, my time on campus was not merely allocated to my studies, but rather a ton of different things. I was the busiest I had been, but this helped improve my time management skills tremendously. As my collegiate career continues, I am constantly learning new things about myself and about UMass Amherst.