You’re back at Cal Poly for Fall quarter — or maybe you’re here for the first time — and ready to experience all San Luis Obispo has to offer: beautiful beaches, downtown nightlife and delicious restaurants.
That is, until you realize one important detail: You don’t have a car.
Luckily, your parents weren’t lying when they said you didn’t need to bring a car to college. With all of the transportation options available to Cal Poly students, there’s no reason why you can’t hit up the beach, run to the grocery store and head downtown — all without a car.
San Luis Obispo City Transit buses
With stops at the Robert E. Kennedy Library and the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center and free fare for Cal Poly students with an ID card, it’s not surprising that 62 percent of SLO Transit city bus ridership is connected to Cal Poly students and staff, according to City of SLO Transit Manager John Webster.
Routes 4, 5, 6A and 6B all stop on campus and go to popular locations such as the Amtrak station, Madonna Plaza and downtown. Each of these routes’ hours of operation varies, with services running from approximately 6:20 a.m. to 10:56 p.m. on weekdays and 8:10 a.m. to 6:17 p.m. on weekends.
To make riding the bus easier, SLO Transit’s website offers a live tracking system so riders can locate their buses in real time, as well as receive notifications to their cell phones or computers, Webster said.
SLO County Regional Transit Authority Buses
San Luis Obispo County’s Regional Transit Authority (RTA) bus system is perfect for students hoping to go a little farther out of town, with stops at destinations such as Pismo Beach and Hearst Castle.
RTA offers three fixed routes out of San Luis Obispo: Route 9 to Paso Robles, Route 10 to Santa Maria and Route 12 to Morro Bay, with connections available to San Simeon.
Route 9 makes frequent weekday stops at Robert E. Kennedy Library, Routes 10 and 12 have more limited service to campus, and all three routes stop daily at the Government Center on Palm and Osos streets, which is approximately 1.5 miles from the freshman residence halls.
Hours vary by route, but generally service runs from approximately 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. Bus fares can vary from $1.50 to $3, depending on the destination. Exact cash must be presented upon boarding, but multi-ride passes can be purchased on www.rideshare.org.
To see the RTA schedules and routes, visit www.slorta.org.
Taxis are another form of transportation available to students and are frequently used for going downtown, coming home from parties or getting picked up at the Amtrak station and airport.
Britny Olsen, a dispatcher at 234-Taxi in San Luis Obispo, said 234-Taxi operates 24/7 and accepts reservations anytime. 234-Taxi will pick up students anywhere on campus, and send as many of their six-passenger cabs as necessary to accommodate a larger group, she said.
The company also offers billing accounts for Cal Poly students, which they can set up in advance to make the payment process easier, she said.
234-Taxi charges $3.50 per pickup and $4 for each mile, and reservations can be made at (805) 234-8294.
SLO Safe Ride
SLO Safe Ride is a privately-operated transportation service and a great option for students who are going downtown to bars or coming home from a late night out.
The company’s general hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 p.m. to 3 a.m., with charter services for special events available through advanced booking.
Students can purchase a $10 VIP shuttle pass for round-trip service from the Campus Bottle Shop on California Avenue and Hathway Boulevard to Bull’s Tavern downtown from 9 p.m. to 2:20 a.m. Thursday through Saturday nights, which includes skipping the line at SLO Brew and free cover charges at all bars, said Mike Linn, co-founder and CEO of SLO Safe Ride.
Starting this fall, rides anywhere within the city of SLO are $5 per person Tuesday through Saturday, Linn said. To make reservations or request a ride, call (805) 620-SAFE (7233) or go to www.slosaferide.com.
If students need occasional access to a car, they have the on-campus option to rent a vehicle through Zipcar, a self-service car sharing program at Cal Poly.
Students can register for membership online. Upon initial registration, students receive $35 worth of driving credits to use toward their Zipcar account. The first year program fee has been reduced to $25 ($35 annually after the first year), and hourly rental prices are as low as $8 per hour, including insurance, gas and up to 180 miles of travel per day.
Cal Poly Zipcar currently has three cars on campus located in the Administration Building parking lot (A-1) and the Robert E. Kennedy Library parking lot (H-2a). If you have questions about how Zipcar can work for you, contact Dominique Bonino, Cal Poly Commuter and Access Services Coordinator at (805)756-6680.