February 3, 2023 | OPINION | By Alicia Chavez

You can find public transport throughout Colorado Springs, with many conveniently located stations surrounding the Colorado College campus. There are two types of public transportation that are available to CC students: the free Downtown Shuttle and the Metro, which is free to all CC students through their Gold Cards. Both of these options are cost effective, but are they worth it?

Before coming to CC, I had rarely used a bus in my hometown. Using public transportation in Colorado Springs was a completely new experience that came with living in a large city. With the help of my friends, who were frequent users of public transportation before they came to CC, I was able to figure out the system.

I was surprised to find out that the public transportation option on Google Maps is relatively easy to use, giving clear markings for stops and bus time arrivals. The app’s estimated arrival times are somewhat accurate; the latest the bus has been in my experience was about three to four minutes.

A quick way to move around the city while staying out of the cold, the free shuttle to downtown has been much more reliable and efficient, with warm heating and friendly drivers. Granted, I’ve always taken the shuttle downtown in large groups ranging from five to seven people, so I have always felt safe aboard the shuttle. Even when taking the shuttle at night, I was comfortable, relaxed, and felt like I was in a safe environment.

Free downtown shuttle buses outside of Ed Robson Arena; ALICIA CHAVEZ / THE CATALYST

The one downside to the shuttle is the location of its CC bus stop. It’s on the north side of the Ed Robson Arena, meaning that you’re in for a walk if you don’t live on the south side of campus. This is especially difficult in colder weather.

Now, I had a completely different experience with the Metro. There are a couple different ways that you can catch this bus: You can find a bus stop near Mathias, or you can ride the free shuttle into downtown and walk to the transit center. If you are female-identifying, I would not recommend journeying on the Metro alone. Even in a large group, many of my female-identifying friends felt uncomfortable.

When I was walking to the transit station, I immediately felt unsafe. The walk to the bus station from the shuttle stop is only a block, but it’s in an area where students may want to exercise caution. Since the area wasn’t heavily populated, I had a decreased feeling of safety.

Our bus was on time, but by the time we got to our destination, we had spent over 45 minutes traveling to a location that is only a 10-minute drive from campus. To get back to campus, we took a $10 Uber because we didn’t think it was safe enough or worth it to wait around for the bus again.

If you’re planning on taking the bus anytime soon, I would recommend using the downtown shuttle and using a rideshare app to reach anywhere else. If, for whatever reason, you need to take the Metro, I would not recommend venturing on it alone. In my opinion, the safest way to catch this bus would be to use the stop near Mathias Hall

The downtown shuttle, however, is a great mode of transportation. If you decide to go to a bar or drink downtown, it’s a great way to stay safe while under the influence. However, the shuttle’s service does end at midnight, so it may cut your night short. Overall, the Metro is not worth your time unless you’re on a budget. If you can afford it, splurge and take a Lyft or an Uber. But at the right time of day or in groups, the shuttle is safe, cost effective, and worth your time.

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