Every once in a while, we all like to go out with our friends off campus and explore the great cities near Bryant like Providence, Newport, and Boston. But how do freshmen travel off campus without cars? Here are some of the best ways I’ve found at Bryant:
One of the most popular ways to get off campus is the RIPTA bus. Making stops from Bryant University to Kennedy Plaza, the bus takes students for FREE right into the heart of Providence. Just swipe your Student ID, and you’re good to go! Stops include the Providence Train Station and Providence Place (click here for a full list of stops and times!), and from Kennedy Plaza you can take RIPTA buses all over Rhode Island, even all the way down to Newport if you don’t mind the long ride. My friends and I used it the other weekend to do some shopping around Providence Place, and we thought for the most part it was great. The only downsides are that the bus can get crowded, because RIPTA is public transportation compared to the BTA (Bryant Transit Authority) which is Bryant students/faculty only. Another problem I had was that I got detoured going into town for a few hours on a Sunday, so I ended up with a longer travel time. As long as you follow the schedule and don’t mind the (sometimes) crowded ride, the RIPTA is an efficient and relatively quick and easy ride. It’s a great way to travel into the city and completely free for Bryant students, so I strongly recommend using it.
The Bryant Transit Authority or BTA is a great way to get your errands done. Making stops at Lincoln Mall, Smithfield Crossing, and Providence Place, the “Bryant Bus” can take you to get dorm supplies at stores like Target, or at the bank (Citizens Bank and Santander Bank) to make a deposit/withdrawal (click here for a full list of stops and times!). I’ve used it several times for Target runs, and I found it fast and inexpensive at only a dollar or two per ride. For those students out of state looking to go home, the BTA does take trips to Kennedy Plaza (RIPTA Station), Providence Train Station (AMTRAK, MBTA Commuter Rail), and TF Green Airport. I’ve been trying to get a trip to Boston in within the next month, and I’ve heard the best way to get there is the Commuter Rail to South Station. It’s only a quick hour or so train ride that drops you right off in the middle of the Financial District, just a little walk away from the Boston Common and the Massachusetts State House.
ZipCars are a great resource for students who have their license, but did not bring a car to campus. By signing up on the ZipCar app, students can rent out cars on campus for an hourly rate or $69 for the day. Of course, you can always use other apps like Uber and Lyft. These options may be expensive, so I suggest taking a group trip and splitting the cost amongst friends! It’s a great option though for long trips to maybe Massachusetts or across Rhode Island, where the RIPTA cannot go. I haven’t tried ZipCar yet, but I heard it’s pretty easy, just reserve a car on the app, get the keys from the car, and you already have a tank of gas to get going.
Personally, one of my biggest fears when I first got on campus was that I wouldn’t be able to ever get off campus. Our campus is small in comparison to other institutions, so I figured I would get tired of doing the same thing every day. But I learned after a few weeks that there’s a lot to do on campus. I always have something to do or someone to hang out with on the weekends, and if I did want to head off campus, there’s enough ways to travel that I can still get to where I want to go. And it definitely helps that I’m not dropping $30 on gas every week or so like I would usually do at home. With the money I save on transportation like the RIPTA, I can afford to spend more at the destination, not the ride there! So as great as it might be to have your own car on campus, I haven’t had a problem with the great transportation services Bryant provides.