Updated: Feb 5, 2020
Thinking about living off campus for the first time? Without a bike it could be a long walk and it can get chilly in the winter, so taking the bus is a favorite for off-campus Gophers. For a complete guide on how to get around using public transport, please visit the MetroTransit website and search for bus and train lines near you. Otherwise, this guide will help you get around using Line 3, which will drop you off on East Bank and West Bank. From there you can catch the campus connector to anywhere on campus. See below for full details:
Step 1: Get a Bus Pass
Unlike the campus connectors provided by the University of Minnesota, the city bus isn’t free. If you plan on using the bus on an occasional basis, (ie. Only when it’s too cold to walk or when you’re running late.) then go to the Coffman Front Desk and ask for a GoTo card. This card acts like a debit card that withdraws money from your account every time you get on the bus. Each bus ride will cost you between $1.75-2.25 depending on whether it’s peak time or not.
On the other hand, if you plan on riding the bus frequently (40+ times per semester) then consider getting the U-Pass ($114 / semester) which is a deeply discounted unlimited pass for students. This pass will give you unlimited rides on all MetroTransit (buses and light rail) to anywhere in the Twin Cities for an entire semester. Don’t lose your card or else the replacement fee is $7. Both cards can be purchased and refilled at the front desk of Coffman Memorial Union at 300 Washington Ave SE.
Step 2: Determine Your Route
Once you have your metro card, you can use it to get around anywhere, it doesn’t have to be just for getting to campus. The Minneapolis MetroTransit system created a smartphone mobile app to help people quickly determine the best route to get you to the right place at the right time. Download the Transit App on the mobile app store and share your location with the app. Now enter in the address of the place you need to get to and voila! it’ll show you exactly what bus is nearest you and when it will arrive, along with when it’ll get you to your destination. That way if you know you need to get to a certain place at a certain time, all you have to do is enter in the time that you need to get there and it’ll come up with the best route for you to take from your departure location.
Bonus: Getting To Campus
If you need to get to campus, every day then you should have your route memorized. If you’re renting a house or apartment in Dinkytown or Como then you’re going to need to take Line 3. See the map below with all the stops along the way. The bus will end up dropping you off in the Knoll (aka. the “Circle”) which is the big grassy field area on Pleasant Street at the entrance of campus near Folwell Hall. And it will also drop you off by Bruininks Hall on East Bank and Willey Hall on West Bank. Make sure you get off at Wiley, or else you’ll be taken for a spin downtown, which will surely make you late for class. See the map below for more info.