This blog is brought to you by UVM Eco-Reps – your student resource for all things sustainability! They work directly with the Office Of Sustainability. Focusing on food, waste, and transport, they cover it all. You may have seen Eco-Reps at events such as Way the Waste in Simpson Dining or the Lock and Learn events (with free bike locks and lights to all attendees!). Almost all dorm buildings have one team member living there, so be on the hunt for the boards where all their updates will go. Or, follow their newsletter here. (Pssst… Stay tuned at the end of this blog to see how you can score a $20 gift card to a local business!)
So, you’re sitting in bed wondering how you’ll get to class, or a coffee shop, or that hike you really want to do. Boy oh boy, do I have news for you. In this blog, you’ll find a complete guide to getting ’round town, including how to use the bus, what’s up with those blue bikes, and how YOU can own a car for a day. Livining a more sustainable lifestyle can be hard, so let us help you check off one way you can be more sustainable: transportation!
You’ve probably seen it when crossing Main Street at least once. It’s big, it’s green and blue, it’s the GMT bus! GMT (Green Mountain Transit) is the local bus that serves the Greater Burlington Area, including Burlington, Essex, South Burlington, Shelburne, Williston, Winooski, Milton, and Hinesburg. GMT busses are free to all students, so make use of that!
All bus information can be found on the Transit app. The app is super easy to use. Just plug in an address and get up-to-date bus times and recommended routes. In addition, you can prepare your trip using the app by changing the date and time you are looking at or using the GMT Trip planner on their website right here. This thing is a lifesaver. I’ve used it to get to Red Rocks Park (more on that later) and Petra Climbing Gym in the winter, and let me tell you, that really beats walking.
If you are looking for nature areas near downtown, one of the best is Rock Point (and North Beach). This area is in the North End and has some of the best views you can get in Burly. From unique rock faces to the student beach. All of it can be accessed by taking the 1 and the 7 on the GMT. Another great area is Red Rocks Park. The park is right on the South Burlington line and is great to watch the sunset or just go on a nice walk. To get here, I recommend taking the 1 to the transit center and riding the 5. You can actually stop right at the entrance of the park and not have to walk, which is really nice in the winter. Up next, we have the Intervale. This spot is not on the water but is a great natural area in Burlington, plus it has an awesome community garden. As for GMT busses, we recommend taking the 1, 2, or 9 to get to the Intervale. Beyond hiking, the bus is great for shopping. The 1 can take you to Target, the Mall, or downtown in one trip. If you’re looking to get one line under your belt, it should really be this one. It can pick you up right off campus and bring you nearly everywhere else.
If the GMT doesn’t work for you, take a bike. Burlington just got the Bird bikes which allow anyone to ride at any time. Students actually get a 20% discount on all rides, which helps that college student budget. Beyond Bird, UVM has our own Bike CO-OP where they do free bike tune ups and allow you to rent a bike for $25 a semester.
Alright, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The dang hill that campus sits on top of. If you are going downtown at all, it can be a pain. So, we included our map of the best and worst hills to ride in Burlington. The general idea is the further north you go, the flatter. Eco-Reps also has a bike guide available on our website for more information on biking around Burlington and Shelburne.
Busses aren’t the only way to get around Burlington without a car. For example, we have a great network of car…pools! If you don’t know, carpool services are a membership that allows you to rent out a car for any use. These programs are great for long day trips such as skiing and hiking that require you to get to the mountains. You might have seen one of the cars around campus, in fact. Carshare Vermont is our local organization and has two cars consistently stationed on campus (one on Redstone and one near Morrill Hall). Go! Vermont has a similar program for linking up riders in the local area to help with carpooling. Find more info on all things car-related on the UVM Transportation and Parking Service website.
As Thanksgiving Break comes up, many Catamounts will be hitting the road. The journey may be long, it may be short, but one way to save is with the Eco-Reps carpool page. We host a board that allows anyone to look for carpools. This doesn’t just have to be for the break, however. Students use this page all through the semester, like finding a ride to the mountain or the grocery store. In addition, we are running a promotion for the upcoming break. Anyone who signs up to drive is entered into a $20 raffle to a local business. All you have to do is join the page and let the chat know when you are driving and how many seats you have.
If you already have a ticket somewhere or carpooling isn’t feasible, there are still a bunch of options to help you get there without a car. For example, did you know that UVM organizes shuttles off campus to the airport, Downtown Transit Center, and the train station in Essex? The whole schedule can be accessed here (plus the regular CATS Shuttle schedule, if you’re into that). If those times don’t work, the GMT is another great option. As mentioned above, look into the Transit app for times and schedules. The bus to the airport is the 11, which is available from College Street and the Medical Center.
We know it can be hard to have fun when you don’t know how to get there. So, we hope that this blog helps you literally get to where you need to be! Again, you can always reach out to Eco-Reps for any questions about sustainability on campus!