Alternative sources of transportation for those without a vehicle

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Photo credit: Thabie Sibanda, Contributing Reporter

Living in the residential halls without a car is not the end of your life as you know it. It is still possible to be independent and have an active social life living car-free. And in this large metropolitan city there are so many other ways to get around that will not only get you where you need to go to but also save you plenty of money. These money-saving options range from riding the bus and walking to rollerblading and many more.

One of the best options for students without cars is using the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) system. The MTA has a resourceful website designed especially for CSUN students on metro.net/around/colleges/csun/. The webpage includes a CSUN pocket guide, timetables for all the nearest bus lines and a quick link on how to get an affordable student pass. The website’s home page also has a handy trip planner that will tell you in detail how to get to your destination using the bus and/or train. CSUN’s very own Satellite Student Union (SSU) and University Student Union (USU) also have stands where you can pick up timetables for free.

The residence halls are home to a large community of students who have bicycles. Even people who own cars would rather ride their bicycles to school. It’s a quick and easy way to get around our school and, unlike cars, you can park your bicycle very close to the building you’re headed to. Bicycles are also inexpensive. Walmart and Target are just a couple of stores where you can find some of these inexpensive but practical bicycles. Riding your bicycle with light effort will also burn about 375 calories per hour. And if you own a bike, CSUN’s Deparment of Police Services has a bicycle registration program to help protect it from theft.

Walking is not only the oldest form of transportation but it is also the cheapest. All you need are your two legs, a destination and some good ol’ energy. Walking also saves you a trip to the gym and it is a great form of cardiovascular exercise once you really get going. A cool fact about walking is that it burns about 85 calories per mile while walking at a leisurely pace.

Another common means of transportation in the residence halls is the skateboard. But keep in mind there are skateboards and longboards, and there is a difference. Skateboards are usually used for tricks and longboards are used for transportation. The longer and wider decks make long boards more stable and easily maneuverable than regular skateboards. The best thing about skateboards and longboards is you can pick them and walk at any time. There’s no need to look for a place to park them.

This may seem a little outdated, but don’t forget about the rollerblades. They are not only for your Saturday night visits to the skating rink with your friends, but they are also a fun way to get around any time and a great way to tone up your lower body. Rollerblading burns about 450 calories per hour. The Roller Skating Association says the health benefits are equivalent to jogging. And this portable option comes in two types: in-line skates and quad skates.

But if none of these choices are appealing to you, remember there is always the option of asking your friends. If you ever need a ride to the grocery store or the mall, find a friend who you can ride along with who is already headed that way. And if you need a ride some place out of their way, don’t forget to be courteous and offer a little monetary compensation for their gas. It will be an added incentive for them that will also make it hard for them to refuse.

So don’t stress out if you don’t own a car. Think about the positive side of things. You have avoided the bills that come with owning a car; the gas, insurance, annual registration and regular maintenance alone are enough to break your bank. Additionally, all of these car-free options help fight global warming by reducing the harmful emissions that come from vehicles.

For more resources on how to live car-free as a student, visit http://carfreela.com, http://fixlatraffic.blogspot.com and http://livinginlawithoutacar.blogspot.com.