Tag Archives: cars

Freshman Boot Camp: How to Get Around Campus at Purdue

8 Aug

After arriving on campus and getting settled into your new place, you’ll inevitably get a little antsy to check out the new community you live in. While the West Lafayette area is quite walk-able, there are many times where your destination is beyond what you can reasonably travel by foot. So if the Tippecanoe Mall is calling you, or there’s a cool place in Lafayette you want to check out here are some tips for each method of transportation!

Driving your own car

The main issue to get out of the way if you’re bringing your own car to campus is where are you going to park it? If you live off-campus, it’s good to know if you’ll have your own parking lot and how plowing will work with that in the winter. If you are parking on the street, you’ll want to know the applicable plowing rules as well!

For freshmen living on campus there is a lottery for parking spots. These permits cost $150 and you can’t start parking in these spots until October 2, so plan accordingly! Be sure to check out Parking’s Website for any additional info if you have special circumstances such as off-campus classes or regular off-campus medical visits.

Other than parking you’ll want to be cognizant of the cost of insurance, gas, and the other expenses your car will rack up. I’d heavily recommend leaving the car at home unless it’s absolutely necessary for some reason. You can always use one of the other options to get around!

Getting Around Campus.jpg

City Bus

The City Bus is free for students! Just be prepared with your Purdue ID in-hand and you can use it to get anywhere that the bus goes. Be sure to check out what route the bus is on by looking at the sign at the top of the bus. The buses run 24/7, but with varying times depending on the time of the day so you will want to check out the different resources available on your phone to check times.

Don’t forget that you can combine the bus with biking! If you just want to bike to the bus stop and then take your bike on-campus there are rack on the front of the bus you can use to hang your bike while you ride the bus.

Biking

Purdue is a pretty large campus, so going by foot isn’t always practical. Bikes are one of the best ways to get around campus and the many bike lanes and parking stations reflect that. You can bring your own or even look into the rental bikes available all over campus (and some in downtown Lafayette). Be sure to register your bicycle to help protect against theft or provide contact info if it is believed your bike has been abandoned.

Don’t have a bike or don’t want to transport it here? Purdue Surplus has tons of bikes that were abandoned previously begging for a new owner. Quality bicycles can be had for around $10!

Related to bikes, skateboards and rollerblading are popular options to get around. It’s very common to see plenty of students longboarding between their classes throughout the day.

Driving a car that’s not your own

Purdue has partnered with Zipcar to provide a way for students who don’t have their own vehicle on campus to rent a car for a relatively reasonable rate. There are about 6 locations around campus to acquire a Zipcar. The cost of insurance and gas is included in the rental so you just have a flat rate to take care of!

All in all, there’s plenty of different ways to get around both campus and the Greater Lafayette Area. By combining the options above you can get pretty much anywhere in a quick and efficient manner.

Is Having a Car in College Worth It?

1 Jun

car in college.jpg

Having a car in college can lead to some really fun times. Cross country road trips in the summer, getaway weekends and nights out on the town are all easier for students who bring a car to campus. However, maintaining a car as a student probably costs more than you think. So, when is it worth it?

The Privilege of Car Ownership

There are many advantages to owning a vehicle as a college student. First and foremost is the flexibility and freedom a car affords. You’ll no longer be dependent on other drivers when you’re making plans – simply by having a car you have more say in what it you can do and what you want to do.  And, of course, your commute to campus is likely to be a bit shorter; so hitting the snooze button a few times won’t ruin your morning.

Owning a car in college can help you make and save money, too. Since you can commute a little further, you’ll be able to consider a wider selection of off-campus jobs. And with all that carrying capacity, you can tackle a week’s worth of grocery shopping in a single day. If your kitchen is stocked, you’ll cook more and eat out less (and all without hauling groceries on foot or by bus).

Car ownership in college also has benefits beyond daily usage. When you really want to get out of town, having a car will make it happen. This is especially true given how difficult it can be for college students to rent cars at affordable rates.

Important Auto Considerations

gas prices are expensive

Despite all the benefits, however, there are some important financial factors you should consider before you decide to own a car while in college.

Gas is expensive, and it’s going to stay that way. The average car in the U.S. consumes around $1,000 worth of gas each year. If you drive your car regularly, you can probably expect to fill your tank once a week. Before you commit to bringing a car to college you need to determine how much it costs on average to fill the tank and how often you expect you’ll fill it up. If possible, you’ll of course want to bring a car with good gas mileage.

Car insurance is another major cost you’ll need to factor into your budget if you drive during college. Premiums are higher for anyone under the age of 25, whether or not they are enrolled in college. The good news is that, on average, Indiana auto insurance premiums are among the lowest in the country.

You’ll also want to consider the cost of campus parking before bringing your car to school. Here are the Purdue rates for parking permits. You should also make certain you are eligible; this is determined by the distance between your home and the campus.

Finally, when deciding whether or not it’s worthwhile to bring a car to college, you have to budget for damages and repairs. The average car needs just over $400 a year in repairs, not including oil changes. You can save some money changing your own oil and rotating your own tires, assuming you know how to do so safely.

Cost-Effective Alternatives

So what are the alternatives to keeping a car at college? There are a number of great ways to get around in West Lafayette:

  • Public transportation: The bus system in West Lafayette is very interconnected with Purdue and free for students to use. The university is central to the area, meaning the bus system can get you to the campus Lafayette CitBusfrom almost anywhere.
  • Bicycles, skateboards and so on: Bicycling is a great alternative in West Lafayette, and many people make it their main mode of transportation. Skateboarding, rollerblading and walking are also options, especially if you live on or close to campus.
  • Zipcar: The local branch of this car sharing service is available to anyone over 18 and caters to Purdue students, faculty and staff.

The Bottom Line

Because car ownership is such a complex financial commitment, you’ll need to do extensive research before you know whether or not it’s a sensible investment. In a nine-month academic year, AAA reports that the average small car costs more than $3,000, including gas, insurance and maintenance; this doesn’t factor in parking costs and non-standard repairs. As a college student, you can’t afford to gloss over such a pricey and important decision.

Karla Lant is a life insurance writer for The Simple Dollar. She helps everyday people understand and master life insurance issues and questions. Lant has dealt with related regulatory issues in her work as an attorney and has researched and published on life insurance and estate planning. She has also taught subjects related to life insurance as an adjunct professor. Here is her Facebook page

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