Best Public Transit Cities for Student Groups
There are many factors that go into planning a school trip: where are you going to visit, how many students are attending, what attractions are in the area and (most importantly) how is everyone going to get around? Renting a bus for the trip can be very expensive and for people under 25, renting a car might not even be an option. This leaves the question of how to get around during your school trip without a car. Public transportation can be an invaluable asset for getting around and in most cases it is cheaper than renting a bus, plus the added bonus of being more environmentally friendly. Check out the top cities for inexpensive public transit in the list below and be sure to consider utilizing public transportation for your next student trip.
It is no wonder why Portland is a popular travel destination. From coffeehouses and nature museums to music and arts festivals, there is a lot to see and do in Portland. TriMet, the company in charge of Portland’s public transit, offers multiple transportation options, including buses and the Max Light Rail, which runs for most of the day. In 2017, TriMet launched a new ticket tool called the Hop Fastpass, which is a reusable ticket card that is valid not only for TriMet buses and rails, but for the Portland Streetcar as well. Fares for TriMet are $2.50 for adults 18-64 and $1.25 for children 7-17 and seniors 65+. The ticket lasts for two-and-a-half hours and after two fares (spending $5.00 for adults), rides are free for the rest of the day.
Boston is overflowing with museums, theaters and waterfront adventures, which make it a popular student destination. Boston’s public transit is run by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), which offers low fares for bus and subway transportation. MBTA has one-day passes and seven-day passes for sale. The fare for a one day pass is $12 and a seven day pass is $21.25. One day ticket passes and seven day ticket passes can be used for Commuter Rail Zone 1A and the Charlestown Ferry as well as buses and the subway.
From the Denver Zoo and Downtown Aquarium to the 16th Street Mall, Denver has attractions for everyone, making it an ideal school trip location. Even better is the public transit in Denver, run by the Regional Transportation District (or RTD), which offers a variety of transportation options including buses, rails and shuttles. RTD allows riders to choose the ticket package that is best for them, from a one-day pass to a five-day pass. A day pass fare is $5.20, a five-day pass book fare is $26 and a ten-ride ticket book is $23.50. RTD also offers a free shuttle ride up and down the mile-long 16th Street Mall from Union Station to Civic Center Station. Starting in December 2017 RTD is offering free shuttle rides to and from Union Station and Civic Center Station with stops in the downtown area.
Pittsburgh is a beautiful city to visit, from window shopping to museums there is something for everyone, which makes Pittsburgh a perfect student destination. Port Authority is the main public transit in Pittsburgh, offering service on buses and rails. Day and weekly passes are available for $7 and $25 respectively. Port Authority utilizes ConnecTix cards for visitors. A ConnecTix card is a reusable card that is good for a limited amount of time, which makes it perfect for visitors to get around Pittsburgh. ConnecTix cards can be bought for one day passes, weekly passes and 10-trip passes. In downtown Pittsburgh there is a free fare zone for rail travel in what is known as the Golden Triangle. The Free Fare Zone makes stops at First Avenue Station, Steel Plaza, Wood Street Station, Gateway, North Side Station and Allegheny Station throughout downtown.
Chicago is the perfect backdrop for school groups, with multiple attractions and easy, inexpensive public transit. CTA makes traveling in Chicago stress free with buses and trains which run most of the day every day. Passes are available for one day at $10, three days at $20 and seven days at $28. A seven-day combo CTA and Pace bus pass is available for $33.
Milwaukee is an ideal student destinations because you have the big city attractions with a small town quality. From historic mansions to theaters and music festivals, there is a lot to see and do in Milwaukee. Getting around Milwaukee is a breeze with the Milwaukee County Transit System. MCTS provides bus transportation in and around Milwaukee. Passes are available for one day for $5 and seven days for $19.50. The buses run for most of the day, starting around 4:30 a.m. until around 1:30 a.m., every day of the week.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Mardi Gras, music and magic make travel in New Orleans a truly unique experience, and getting around New Orleans is easy with Regional Transit Authority-New Orleans or RTA. There are multiple ways to travel in New Orleans, including bus, streetcar and ferry. RTA offers Jazzy Passes for buses and streetcars for one day at $3, three days at $9 and five days at $15. A five-day ferry pass is available for $18 or an integrated ferry, bus and streetcar pass can be purchased for $7 for one day and $30 for five days.
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is a great place to host a student trip, and with theme parks and museums there is something for everyone to do. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (or the Metro), provides bus and rail transportation in and around LA. Day passes are available for one day and seven days for $7 and $25 respectively. Passes are only available using TAP cards; a TAP card is a reusable plastic card that you simply tap against a ticket validator to be able to ride the bus or rail.
While planning all the details of a class trip can be a monumental task, finding a destination with stress free and inexpensive public transportation is easy. Utilizing public transit is not only easier than renting a car, but is also less expensive and environmentally friendly. Be sure to consider public transit as a factor for your next student adventure.