Getting Around USF

Every college campus is set up differently. You may hear one of your college friends talk about how great a scooter is for getting around campus, while another may tell you about how frustrating the parking garage is on their campus. We’ve put together this guide to help you determine what transportation method is best for you while attending the University of South Florida.

Bring Your Car:

With the way USF, off-campus housing, and the surrounding area is situated, a vehicle is best suited for getting to and from campus. It also makes getting around town and the Tampa Bay a lot easier. In general, Florida’s cities are not very walkable, and the USF area is no exception. Even if you decide to use another transportation method for getting to class most days (or every day), you will find it handy to have a car to get around the area.

If you decide to drive to campus, you will need a parking permit. Parking is such a big part of your time as USF that we created a Parking on USF Campus guide – this article should help answer all of your questions!

Bring Your Car to USF

Bull Runner Bus System:

The Bull Runner is USF’s bus system that picks students up at select off-campus apartments with different stops across the campus. There are 7 different bus routes that run every day of the week (excluding major holidays) with varying hours depending on the day. The Bull Runner is free with your Student ID (USFCard) – make sure you always have it on you to ensure access to the buses.

We’ve put together a list of communities that are included on a Bull Runner route. Each community is part of a particular route. Every route will have at least one stop on campus. If it’s important that you are on a particular route for ease of access to certain parts of campus, be sure to ask the leasing team which route(s) they are on prior to signing your lease.

USF has a website and app dedicated to the Bull Runner that will be your best friend if you decide to make their bus system your preferred method of getting to and from campus. This website features a Live Map, Arrival Times, and allows you to set up personalized mobile alerts.

We’ve put together a brief pro and con list that may help you make a decision on if the Bull Runner is best for you and your situation.

Pros:

Cons:

1. No need to spends hundreds of dollars
on a parking pass.
2. Save on the cost of gas and upkeep of
bringing a car.
3. Avoid searching for parking that may make
you late for class.
4. It’s free! You can also choose to mix it up and
drive some days (with a parking permit) and take the bus on other days.
1. Your bus route may not have a stop near your
classes.
2. Buses run on a loop and may throw off your schedule as the
timing could vary each day.
3. The bus only runs select hours, which means if you need to
be on campus after hours you will need an alternative transportation option.

HART Bus System:

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) is a great option for getting around Tampa and even connects to certain Bull Runner stops that will get you to campus or home (if you live on a Bull Runner route). The best part - it’s free for students who show their USFCard. There are 9 bus routes that serve the USF area. Check out this HART map for a quick glimpse of the routes and times of service.

Other Modes of Transportation

Bike:

There are definitely a few off-campus housing options that are close enough to campus to make a bike one of your options for getting to and from campus. There are a few factors you should consider before making this your main mode of transportation. The USF area was not configured with bicyclists in mind, and it has been known to be dangerous for students to bike around the area. Also, Florida weather is unpredictable and it’s easy to get caught off guard by an afternoon or random morning storm. We suggest checking out the path you would take from your apartment to campus during a typical school day/time to make sure it seems like a realistic option before choosing this option. Another option to consider when bringing a bike is leaving it on campus. There are plenty of bike racks where you can lock your bike. It can make getting around campus a lot quicker if your classes are spread out!

Walking:

Most apartments are far enough from campus that this option isn’t very feasible. Add in the unpredictable weather and lack of safe pedestrian areas, we don’t recommend this option.

Scooter:

There are a handful of students who choose this option, but it isn’t a very popular mode of transportation among USF students. We believe this is partly due to the reasons mentioned above.

Helpful Transportation Apps and USF Ride Partnerships:

Uber and Lyft: These are great options for getting around town, and at least one should definitely be saved in your phone as a backup option for getting home after a night out.

USF Safe Ride: USF’s Student Government has a team that sponsors SAFE Ride with Uber. This allows students to claim 1 voucher per month that will be applied directly to the student’s account.

USF Emergency Ride Home Program: TBARTA offers this get-home guarantee to any student who uses means other than driving alone to/from school at least twice a week. They will reimburse you up to 6 free rides home from class or work.

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