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Getting There – Transportation
To and From Tampa
The first time you drop your student off at college can be both stressful and exciting. Planning is the key. You will probably go the first time to move them in and get them settled. Many of you will drive and some will fly into town. There are many transportation options when it comes to getting to Tampa. Since you probably won’t be delivering and picking your student up very often, here are some ways to get them to and from USF.
Tampa International Airport is just 25 minutes from USF. This is the closest airport and best option. One of the cheapest options to fly into but more expensive to fly out of. Some students fly to and from campus using the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport which is about 35 minutes away. All the major airlines frequent these airports, along with many smaller airlines as well. If you are traveling within the state of Florida, there are various commuter flights with very reasonable rates. You may also find good student fares on Student Universe, who has partnered with ULoop. Watch for promo codes on this site.
Another option is to use Orlando International Airport but it is about an hour and a half away. Some have found that they may have less expensive fares. Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is about one hour away from USF.
Getting to and from the airport is not a problem. There’s always Uber and taxis. A taxi reservation will run about $45 from the airport to USF and the Super Shuttle service is around $20. Best way to get to airport would be taking an Uber or Lyft.
If you are traveling within the state of Florida, there are a couple of bus options that may work for you. Wanderu.com partners with bus and train companies from all over and offers many options including Greyhound, Red Coach and MegaBus. MegaBus has a drop-off/pick up location near downtown, but Red Coach picks up and drops off right on campus. Be careful what 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. My student drives a car to and from USF, but I have seen many comments on the USF parent’s Facebook pages regarding the different bus options. I think it’s a great idea to check these pages out for more advice and information.
Those students that bring their cars to campus will find that parking can be a pain. Lots fill up quickly, and sometimes you will park and then walk a mile to get to your classes. Again, it’s all about planning. USF has Park-n-Ride lots where you can park and catch a free Bull Runner Bus that takes you all over campus. There is also a Bull Tracker system that provides bus locations and when it will arrive at your stop.
One of my favorite options is carpooling. Students can put a note on various social media sites, their sorority/fraternity/club/dorm page, etc. and they are sure to get a ride. Plus, it’s a great way to meet more people. 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. facebook.com/groups/370655192974313/. Additionally, there is a USF carpool program
Another option is to look into the Enterprise CarShare program. Enterprise Carshare has an annual membership fee: $35. Rates are hourly: $8.50/Daily: $70. Rates include 200 miles per day included in your rental; additional miles at $0.25/mile. Fuel and physical damage/liability protection.
Some students will also take Amtrak to go home or head back to school. It is still a good 15-minute car ride to USF but some students have found this to work out well. They can carry on baggage and check-in baggage at certain stations but they have wifi so students can study (or binge-watch their favorite shows)
Many students find that bicycles are convenient for campus travel. USF has been awarded as a bicycle-friendly university, and there are plenty of great bike parking places on campus. It is strongly advised that your student not only register their bike with the University Police but also that they know the rules of using a bike on campus. For example, bicycles must have a light at the front of the bike and reflectors on the rear, visible for night time use. Also, students may not wear earbuds/headphones while riding.
They can also try the Share a Bull Bikes program which is operated by CycleHop. Share-a-Bull Bikes has bikes housed at 17 locations on campus. Rates are $8/hour, $7/month, $59/year