How to Use and Get to Know the Bus System

By Joseph A’Hearn

Calling it the Spring Semester is a cheap marketing trick. At U of I, we all know the name Winter Semester more adeptly describes the bitter cold our flesh endures on our way around campus. In the winter, most of all, you’ll want to travel by bus rather than by bicycle or on foot. The good news is that since you’re a student at U of I, you get to travel the Champaign-Urbana bus system for free! But there are so many different bus routes. How do you know which bus to hop on?

In this blog I want to mention a few resources that I wish I had known when I transferred to U of I last spring.

1. Google Maps: Just type in your starting point and destination, and then select the public transit icon. It will show you your options. I usually take a look at this on my computer before I go outside.

2. Maps and Schedules on the official Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District website: (You can even download the whole booklet in PDF format!) If you want to be a bus guru, this is your resource. All the info you could ever want about the bus system.

3. Phone Apps: I installed three apps on my Android phone: Transit – CUMTD and My Bus Helper: MTD are the two I still use. I don’t remember what the third one was, but if I deleted it, it must have been pretty useless. I’ve found Transit – CUMTD more helpful when I know where I’m departing from, but not necessarily where I’m getting off, and My Bus Helper: MTD more helpful when I don’t know exactly where I should get on, but I know where I’m going.

4. The 22/220 Illini: This is the bus that meanders through campus. If you have no clue which bus to get on, hop on the 22/220 Illini, and eventually you can jump off relatively close to any destination. You should really get to know the bus system better than this, though. It’s just a last resort.

Over time you will get to know which bus works best for each of your trips in the weekly cycle of classes, labs, meetings, and events. You may even get to know the various bus drivers. You will get to know other tricks of the trade that I did not include in this brief blog. Best of luck getting around! And stay warm!

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