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Sunday, May 19, 2024
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To Drive or Not to Drive

Gas is expensive, and shoveling out a car at 7 a.m. is bothersome. The bus is inconvenient and at times the rank smell is so overwhelming that walking to campus seems like a better alternative.

It's one of those questions that students ask themselves every morning: drive to campus or ride the bus? There are pros and cons to both options.

On one hand, there is a convenience factor. It takes much less time to roll out of bed, get ready, hop in a car, and drive to campus.

There's no worry about walking through the winter chill to the bus stop or missing a bus and being late for class, and there's no need to stand during the ride and receive dirty looks for bumping into strangers.

On the other hand, gas prices are on the rise and taking the bus to class saves a chunk of change. While driving saves students some time outdoors, they face the risk of waking up to a snowstorm, forcing them to shovel out their cars and making them late for class.

But the looming question still remains: which one is the better option?

With a car, there's the ability to get to campus on one's own schedule and no need to rely on the operating bus times, though finding a parking spot is not so effortless.

After 9 a.m., the battle for a good parking spot gets heated. Every day, in many of the parking lots across campus, cars can be seen weaving up and down the rows of filled parking spaces.

"I got to the parking lot at 11:30," said Matt Fox, a junior communication major. "I had class at 12 and I couldn't find a spot. I was there literally looking for a spot until 11:57 and I just told myself I was going to park in one of the Student Association truck spots. After leaving my class, I came back to find a parking ticket waiting for me. I took the chance because I didn't want to risk my grade."

While driving students might have been able to sleep a bit longer than their bus-riding peers, they now have the problem of finding a parking spot before their class starts.

Some of the most convenient parking spots on campus can be found in Park lot; however, they're not available to students during the day unless the student possesses a special permit.

Another decent option are the Jacob lots located in the middle of North Campus with easy access to both Capen and Lockwood libraries. There is a catch with these parking lots as well. Only lots B and C are available to students, not A, which is reserved exclusively for faculty and staff. While students are not given the privilege to park in these lots, TA's are.

Coming from the other side of North Campus, the best parking can be found at Ketter lot, which is adjacent to Hamilton loop. Also located in the middle of North Campus, Ketter lot provides the least amount of exercise.

Now the question becomes more specific: to sleep and live more conveniently, or to be environmentally and economically friendly?

The latter involves a bus ride.

The advantage is having a free ride with a drop-off location right on campus. There's no stress or fighting over parking spots, or worrying about getting snowed in.

The disadvantage lies in the undeniable fact that bus drivers are human. Accidents happen and sometimes there are environmental factors that mess up the bus schedule.

For those who have weighed the options and chose to use a car, the next problem is finding the best possible parking spot without getting a ticket. And yes, the handicap and carpool parking spaces are tempting but not a viable option.

When driving becomes the most practicable option, students must remember a few things. Breaking the rules – parking in faculty lots, parking in handicapped spots – can lead to tickets. It's possible that students could get away scot free, but it's equally as probable that they won't.

"I've gotten about 15 tickets since I've been at UB," said Danielle, a senior philosophy major. "It's probably totaled up to over 500 dollars."

Danielle is certainly not alone. Other horror stories of students receiving parking violation tickets can be found occasionally littering the news feeds of Facebook and Twitter as students try to blow off some steam.

"The amount of people at UB has been increasing rapidly so it's become harder to get close spots," Danielle said. "Some days I think it's almost easier to take the bus."

Tips for a less stressful driving experience: get to campus before 10 a.m., that way there's a better chance of getting a good spot. After that time, spots fill up fast and more time will be spent finding a spot than actual travel time.

For late classes, it's best to just save the migraine medicine and take the bus.

"There's not enough spots for everyone," Fox said. "It's impossible, like it's just not going to work."

Above all, commuters agree that the most important issue is getting to class.

Email: features@ubspectrum.com


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