Most students find public transportation around Charlottesville to be pretty reliable but a bit of a hassle. Once you get the different routes, times, and fares down, the Charlottesville bus system can be easy and convenient—especially if you don’t have a car. Buses will take you wherever you need to go as long as you’re prepared to wait a bit and deal with some strange people along the way. Around campus, the UVA shuttles are great. They run pretty frequently and are free for students. The University Transit System recently implemented a scheme that allows students to call a toll free number to see when the next bus will be servicing a given stop.
Although it’s easy to walk almost anywhere on campus, Charlottesville itself is not always a walking town. Getting to a grocery store is one of the most inconvenient things for students, and this is when it’s best to use your own car or mooch a ride from friends. After your first year, having a car in Charlottesville will seem very liberating, although between the bus and shuttle system and the downtown trolley, it’s really not essential. If you have to rely on public transit, learn the schedules and transfer system as well as you can. It will save you time and money and make life without a car a whole lot easier.