Car-less options grow abundant
Published: Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
It is possible to never wander far from campus, but seeing the same scenery seven days a week for weeks on end, no matter how pretty, can get boring real quick.
While owning a car is a great way to escape campus, the cost of parking one on campus, not to mention the cost of gas these days, can put the hurt on a student’s budget. Thankfully, there are other options.
One way to get your feet wet exploring Dallas is to hop on SMU’s free 768 Mustang Express in front of the Cox School of Business.
The 768 will take you to get nourished at the eateries and eatering holes across US 75 on SMU Boulevard, to pick up some munchies at Kroger, to do some shopping at Mockingbird Station, to catch a flick at the Angelika Mockingbird, to catch a DART train or bus at Mockingbird Station, to stock up on gourmet goodies at HEB’s Central Market, to do more shopping and eating at Old Town and to visit off campus friends living in the Village.
The 768 runs Monday through Friday from around 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., with service three times an hour before 7 p.m. and twice an hour afterwards.
If you have a busy schedule and find it hard to squeeze in time to work out, a bicycle will give you a chance to work out on the go. And there are a number of places to go within a short ride of SMU.
Go east on Mockingbird Lane to the oldest shopping center in the U.S., Highland Park Village or follow Airline south from between Ford Stadium and the bookstore a few blocks south to the north end of the Katy Trail.
The Katy Trail follows an old railroad alignment and will take you to Knox-Henderson, West Village, Uptown and Victory Park, just north of Downtown Dallas.
You should know that while wearing a helmet when cycling is always a good idea, in the city of Dallas it is also the law.
To help keep you wheels in good shape, SMU provides a bicycle repair station on the southside of the Umphrey Lee Center and key card access indoor bicycle storage behind McElvaney Hall. Contact RLSH’s South Quad Desk in McElvaney for more info on reserving your two-wheeled parking spot.
Another way to get out and about is to stop by Park ‘N Pony and pick up your Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) pass.
This heavily discounted annual pass is yours for a one time fee of $20.
And next year’s, available in December, is free.
For less than the cost of a full tank of gas you can roam all semester long throughout DART’s system, from Plano to Glen Heights to DFW to Rowlett.
If you get a hankering for Cow Town or a need to go tell those Horned Frogs how much better SMU is than TCU, you will need to pony up the cost of a regional day ticket to visit Fort Worth via the Trinity Railroad Express (TRE). Maps, schedules and trip planning assistance can be found at http://www.dart.org/ and on your phone at http://m.dart.org/. Both sites have links to TRE info.
And if you simply must use a car, you do not necessarily need to own it.
If you can not find some car-owning friends to carpool with you can always call a cab or check out Zipcar, http://zipcar.com/, for information on those two shiny Zipcars have recently appeared in dedicated parking spaces behind Perkins Pool. Zipcar is a car-sharing plan that has been popping up in urban areas and college campuses around the country.
Basically you join Zipcar, reserve a car online or through one of Zipcar’s free smart phone apps, unlock the car with your membership card or the app, put the key in the ignition and drive away.
Gas, insurance and up to 180 miles per day are included according to the company’s website.
Being green and saving green can both be accomplished without being confined to campus.
After all why shell out money for parking on campus that could be better spent on essentials, like fried food at the State Fair of Texas which just happens to be on DART’s Green Line.
SMU has continued to expand its partnerships with companies and organizations that seek to aid students who do not have cars. Zipcars are just another example of the university’s initiative to connect.students to the city.