Fact: Not all college students own a car. Shocking, right?
The lives led by those unfortunates in our sprawling suburbia must be dull, you say. That very sprawl makes for long walks or even bike rides. Attractions like the Manitou Incline are miles away from Colorado College, UCCS, the Air Force Academy, Pikes Peak Community College's campuses, Colorado Technical University — all the local schools, really.
But Colorado Springs has a bus system, the Mountain Metro, and while it doesn't serve every need for everyone, free transfers, student discounts and bike racks make it useful. And most routes mentioned below use the same downtown terminal at 127 E. Kiowa St., where staff will help you get where you need to go.
Routes 9A and 9B: Route 9 is a fast track to the downtown terminal. Route 9B goes there from UCCS every hour, passing CC at Cascade Avenue and Cache la Poudre Street. Route 9A runs the same route half an hour earlier, plus it goes north to the Voyager Parkway transfer center near Chapel Hills Mall — the only place for AFA students to hop on. For entertainment along North Academy Boulevard, check out the Carmike Cinema at the mall or Library 21c at Chapel Hills and Voyager, around the northeast part of the mall. Food-wise, it's almost all franchises, but the locals at Amanda's Fonda are worth noting. From the terminal to UCCS: 24 minutes. From the terminal to the Voyager Parkway transfer center: 49 minutes.
Route 3: This route goes from the terminal to Manitou Springs via Old Colorado City. Running every half hour, this bus is your ticket to Barr Trail and the Manitou Incline, and it has most of the boutique shopping outside of downtown, plus food and drink galore. Empty out your change at the Manitou Arcade, then check out Heart of Jerusalem (for the hummus), The Loop (for a giant margarita) or the new Manitou Brewing Company (for beer). If you dig pub trivia, hit Thunder & Buttons in Old Colorado City on Tuesday nights, and chow down on elk chili cheese fries. From the terminal to Manitou and Ruxton: 24 minutes.
Route 11: Route 11 heads south from the terminal every hour, with a stop near the World Arena. Like 9A, this provides a direct route to a movie theater — Tinseltown, which gets all the big releases as well as the occasional indie film. For late shows and events, especially on weekends, make sure you have a ride back; the last bus leaves Lake Avenue and Venetucci Boulevard at 8:52 p.m. on weekdays, 5:52 p.m. on Saturdays, and 4:51 p.m. on Sundays. From the terminal to the World Arena: 18 minutes.
Route 25: This line does not go to the downtown terminal. It runs hourly from the Voyager Parkway transfer center down Academy to PPCC. That said, this is how you get around the east side of town; there's a transfer center at the Citadel mall. Across the street from the Citadel is the Picture Show, home of the buck-fifty movie ticket (75 cents on Tuesdays) for last season's hits. A few stores south in the same shopping center, check Entertainmart for cheap posters and to swap your High School Musical soundtrack for a copy of F#A#∞. From the Voyager Parkway transfer center to the Citadel Mall: 40 minutes.
Route 4: This hourly route goes from the terminal to the Broadmoor, site of luxury dining and elbow-rubbing with the rich. But that's probably not why it matters to you. This route also stops at Eighth Street and Motor City Drive, a few blocks west of Motor City, where you can buy a car and escape the bus system. Other attractions include the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, just east of Eighth on Abbot Lane. From the terminal to Eighth and Motor City Drive: 10 minutes.
To explore other options, find times, routes and prices at transit.coloradosprings.gov. Google Maps has most of the city's data up to date, and it's your best bet for planning a trip. But double-check with the transit site just in case — it takes a little time for Maps to change route info. For questions or info on delays, call 385-7433.