As you have probably realized by now, UNH is pretty awesome when it comes to transportation. Not only do we have Wildcat Transit giving us access to Portsmouth, Dover, Newmarket, Rochester, and the furthest reaches of campus but we have our own Amtrak station and C&J bus stop (how many schools can say that?!). And let’s not forget about the zipcars (although they would defeat the point of this post since it is about travels WITHOUT a car).
Let me start by saying that I’m lame and don’t have my driver’s license, so transportation options were a big thing for me when I was picking colleges. I live about three hours from UNH in Connecticut and have friends and family in the Boston/Greater Boston area who I like being able to see. And lets face it, being so close to Boston gives us Wildcats some pretty great opportunities to see some pretty big music acts (did anyone go to the Fall Out Boy show in Lowell on the 6th? Boston Calling maybe?).
UNH’s transit options have given me some pretty great stories and words of wisdom to share with you, reader. Let’s start with some tips:
1. Do try and get to any of the stations at least 5 minutes early (for the Downeaster the recommended is 20 minutes although I find that anything after 9am is always, always, ALWAYS late.)
2. Take advantage of the not driving yourself. Bring a book with you that you need to read for class. Or, if you have online work, have your laptop with you. C&J and the Downeaster both have free WiFi. You may not be able to watch Netflix or Youtube but you can get your Blackboard postings done!
3. If you aren’t in a rush, just wait for the next Wildcat Transit to Portsmouth, Dover, or Newmarket. Honestly, they come so close together that the difference between having to stand and fall over people or sitting and enjoying the ride is almost worth the wait. And if the buses are really crowded, most likely they’ll call another to follow up right away!
4. The Coast buses and Trolleys (the ones not run by UNH) are free with your student ID (I just found this out!).
5. If you’re waiting for the train, the Dairy Bar is delicious and if you have dining dollars and use them you get like 10% off your tab (which is awesome).
Here are just some short stories with some words of wisdom mixed in just for you.
Story 1: Last year I decided to go home for my birthday, which was (and is again this year) on homecoming weekend. I decided to take the first train after my French class down to Boston to then catch a bus back home. I thought I gave myself plenty of time to get where I needed to go and even grab dinner with my friend, Hannah, from Emmanuel. We went to Panera and wandered around by Fenway Park, caught up on college life and whatnot. I bet you can see where this story is going. If you guessed that I missed my 6pm bus back to CT you would be right. And the only thing worse than missing a 6pm bus and having to sit in South Station until the next one at 10pm is doing so on your birthday. I eventually got home with a lesson learned: get to the station early because you never know when being a minute late will become a hassle.
Story 2: As many of us out of state UNHers know, getting home for Thanksgiving can be one of the most difficult and stressful events of the school year. We’re only home for a few days and what day you choose to leave campus, if your parents aren’t nice enough to come a get you, can really affect your traveling. Especially going through Boston to get home. Not only do you have UNH students going home, you have all of the schools in greater Boston converging in one place. Let’s just say, for those who have never experienced Thanksgiving at South Station, it gets scary and fast. You really have to keep on your toes. You make friends and learn that it’s best to not leave on Wednesday if possible. Also, the buses come ten at a time for one location so that’s always a little helpful. But this is another one of those get to the station early stories! Do it! Be there early! I’m serious.
Well, those are some of my tips and stories about transit around here. You really don’t need to have a car here between Amtrak, Wildcat Transit and C&J.
Some useful apps and websites to check out for transit: