Freshmen, get used to the word “travel.” Over 14,000 bikes call UCSB home and a vast array of skateboards in varying shapes and sizes can be seen cruising the sidewalks. Even the occasional inline skater or scooter rider can be spotted.
Additionally, for those wishing to leave the confines of campus and Isla Vista, the Metropolitan Transit District – more commonly referred to as MTD or just “the bus” – has routes that crisscross Santa Barbara and even an express route from campus to the Transit Center downtown. And, of course, there are always the few lucky friends who have cars who may be willing to give you a ride. If you’re looking to leave the city altogether, there is an airport directly bordering campus, as well as the Amtrak stations in Goleta and Santa Barbara.
Biking is one of the most popular methods of getting to class at UCSB. Everywhere on campus, bikes have the right-of-way over both skateboarders and walkers. The major bike paths that run across campus also run directly into I.V. All one has to do is travel under the Pardall Road bike tunnel and you will be in I.V., where bikes are just as prevalent.
However, with so much bike traffic, the occasional bike accident does occur. Undeclared second-year Alexis Bartlow said she advises incoming freshmen to come to school knowing UCSB’s bike path etiquette.
“Don’t fucking text while you’re on the bike path, cause I’m sick of it,” Bartlow said.
For those who choose not to bike to class, the most common alternatives are skateboarding and walking.
Fourth-year sociology major Arielle Assur said she prefers walking to class because it is more relaxing than biking.
“It’s the only time of day I get to listen to music on my iPod, and I also like to eat Bagel Cafe while I walk,” Assur said. “And no matter what route you take, there’s always something interesting going on. You always see somebody you know.”
While much of what you may need can be found either in I.V. or within biking distance in Goleta, there are still those times you will want to venture to downtown Santa Barbara and the venerable State Street.
Most first-year students, as well as many continuing students, depend on the public bus for these situations. The university provides free bus service to all its students. To receive these benefits, all you have to do is sign on to GOLD and request a registration sticker.
MTD Manager of Transit Development & Community Relations David Damiano said intercity transportation is especially convenient for students.
“We are recognized as a transit-heavy community,” Damiano said. “It is easy for students to get anywhere they need to go. There are frequent buses to and from UCSB.”
All the bus schedules are available on the MTD website, but one bus all students should know about is the 24X, which has express service from UCSB to the Transit Center downtown. It normally takes no more than 20 minutes, and runs nearly every half-hour on weekdays and every hour on weekends.
Even people who have cars often choose to ride the bus because of its environmentally friendly reputation. Damiano said Santa Barbara operates North America’s largest fleet of battery-operated vehicles and many other buses are hybrids.
A weekend trip home to see the parents is also not out of reach. Amtrak is relatively inexpensive and has daily trips leaving from both Goleta and Santa Barbara. And, if you’re worried about getting bored on the train, try Amtrak’s Coast Starlight. This route passes through several gorgeous landscapes on its trip from Los Angeles to Seattle.
Lastly, if you live a bit farther away, the airport is right down the street from the campus, though airfare from Santa Barbara is not exactly cheap. For better deals on flights, one might want to take a trek down to Los Angeles International Airport.