By Olivia Turner | Staff Writer
For those of us who don’t have cars with us on campus, the college life can be tricky to navigate.
Without wheels, suddenly we’re stranded. We’re met with the inability to do things, like visit the store and go out to eat, without taking an Uber, ordering delivery or getting a ride from a friend. Walking also takes significantly more time to get around, and Waco is not exactly pedestrian-friendly, considering the ongoing chaos of construction.
Since Baylor is blocked from the rest of Waco by Interstate 35, getting to the city’s hot spots can be inconvenient and even dangerous. Crossing I-35 feels a bit like trying to cross a raging river without a boat.
Sure, as a freshman, a car is not necessary since most of my week is spent on campus. Even on the more quiet weekends, there are still food and grocery options open on campus like the food court in the Bill Daniel Student Life Center and the Penland POD.
However, the open hours for these food sources are limited. The SUB is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday and 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekends. The Penland POD, on the other hand, is open Monday to Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The open hours for these food sources are limited and should be expanded into the breakfast hours on weekends as early as 9:00 a.m.
Additionally, once the weekend hits, I want to explore the restaurants and shops the rest of Waco has to offer.
Being isolated on campus 24/7 keeps me from getting the full Baylor experience including Waco’s art, entertainment and food industries.
This is not to say that Baylor doesn’t provide some accommodations for students who don’t have a car on campus. The Baylor BUS, a free shuttle service with five different routes offered by the university, and Zipcar, a Baylor car rental service, are both options that come in handy when you need to be somewhere.
Though, even these options come with catches. The BUS only branches out so far from Baylor, limiting your Waco trip unless you’re willing to walk some more, and Zipcar can be up to $11 per rental. Nothing beats the reliability and convenience of grabbing your keys off the hook, hopping in your own car and cruising around town on your own terms.
In regard to the university, some of the most helpful ways Baylor could make it easier for students without cars would be to extend the hours of the on-campus restaurants and shops to include breakfast hours and later dinner hours.
One thing I have noticed about the Baylor community is they are usually willing to lend a helping hand. Those students who do have cars are often open to giving rides and carpooling, a kindness I am grateful for. Hospitality like this continues to help many students who are at a disadvantage in regard to transportation.
Though, for now, I’ll keep gracing the SUB food court on weekends, braving the crosswalks of I-35 and dreaming of the day when I have a sweet ride of my own.