The First Time
That first time you drop your student off at a college you will probably want to go with them and get them settled. Many of you will drive there. Some may fly to town. There are many transportation options when it comes to getting to Orlando. The key is that as time goes on, you most probably won’t be delivering and picking your student up very often. Here are some ways to get to them or get them back to you.
First, we are so lucky, because we have an (international) airport just 30 minutes from UCF. This makes flights plentiful and it is often easy to find fair prices on flights. Orlando airport serves as a hub for Silver Airways and a focus city for Frontier Airlines, Jet Blue Airways, and Southwest Airlines. It is also frequented by Delta Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Virgin America Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines. List of all the airlines. If you are traveling within the state of Florida there are various commuter flights; some for as low as $75. You may also find good student fares on Student Universe, who has partnered with ULoop. Watch for promo codes on this site as well.
There is a small airport in Orlando, but it is not recommended to go through here. It is super small and not very well known. During certain times of the year, UCF pairs up with MCO to provide shuttle services for students. This is usually done during the fall holidays as well as spring break, however, this may change throughout the year. Information for this is unavailable just yet. Information will be updated and will be announced on social media.
Getting to and from the airport isn’t a problem either. Of course, there is always Uber, but there are taxis too. UCF’s student government provides a fabulous service called Knight Flight, which is a free holiday airport shuttle traveling from the main campus (LYNX/UCF Transit station) to the Orlando International Airport. It operates around Thanksgiving, Winter Break, and Spring and Summer Breaks. Students can even catch a free ride back to campus by looking for the Knight Flight buses which will be waiting at the Ground Transportation at the airport. Students must sign up for this service. There are also various private shuttle services, but they can get rather costly even for a shared ride. (Note: Lynx offers free rides in Orlando any time, not just during holidays, breaks, and so forth. There are 54 stops between UCF Downtown and UCF Main campus.)
If you are traveling from S. East Florida (as far as Miami) GMGTrans.com has buses that travel along the turnpike south on Fridays and north on Sundays only. The average price is $35 one way. Wanderu.com partners with bus and train companies from all over and offers many options including Greyhound, Red Coach, and MegaBus. Recently, JetSet Express Bus added a route from the Miami Airport to Orlando, leaving daily at 7 am 10:30 am, and 7 pm, for $27. Be careful which you choose though as some of them may be very inexpensive, but that’s because your student may sit on a bus for seven hours to go what is normally about three, depending on the route and stops.
I kind of like the train although I admit I rarely take one in Florida. This may be the way to go through. Check out Sunrail.com for schedules. There is also an Amtrak station in Orlando as well. If taking a train is a good option for your student then this may be the way to go. The Amtrak station is about 25 minutes from campus though, which means we are back to calling Uber. This too can lead to very long rides based on a number of stops. Try to find the most direct route which may sometimes mean bringing them to a more trafficked hub station.
One of my favorite options is carpooling. When I was in college we would put a note upon the dorm bulletin board if we were looking for a ride or a passenger. Today everything is much simpler. Students can put a note on various social media sites, their sorority/fraternity/club/dorm page, etc. and presto; they have a ride. If that doesn’t work students can sign up with Zimride and they will take the guesswork out of it for them. Sharing in the cost of gas and tolls is generally more efficient for all involved. There is also a large Facebook group called FSU-USF-UCF-UF carpool with over 8900 members. Students from those colleges post about where they are going or if they need a ride.
When driving back to school after a long holiday weekend or break, like Thanksgiving, Winter, or Spring break, make note that there is a lot of traffic and a normal drive is often extended by hours. Some students will leave a few days prior to avoid this traffic. Parents, while you hate to see them go, it is far more comforting to know that they are not going to be on the road all day stuck in traffic. Should your student have car problems – broken down, a flat tire – they can call Road Rangers at *347. They will come and assist them for free.
UCF SGA now works with LYFT and if you use Lyft as a business account with your Knights email, you get discounts on rides in the UCF area on Friday and Saturday. The promo is SGAFALL. As well, UCF now has a ZipCar program with 4 locations around campus.
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