As a longtime commuter, I've learned a thing or two about commuting--- not only the methods of getting to and fro but resources on campus that are useful for anyone, even non-commuters. Here are four of those nuggets of knowledge to keep in mind this semester:
1. Shuttle bus
There is a free shuttle bus that goes directly to and from the Exton train station. For me, this is especially great news because I happen to live a walks away from the train station; but even if you don't it comes in handy. Like, if you and your friends want to go to Phili, for instance, you can take the free shuttle and then the train to the city without stressing over parking!
The shuttle goes to and from the station and doesn't require a reservation. It's located at the church street bus stop (that busy area in between the science buildings and Anderson hall) and is a short bus. You can see the shuttle schedule for the upcoming semester here
2. Septa has cut back on its bus stops
I found this out the hard way. There I was: pulling the yellow cord for my stop the way I had last fall semester only to have the driver ask if someone had pulled the cord. I replied that I had and he paused. Then, he shouted, "We don't stop there anymore." I was dumbfounded. My stop was the Exton train station, how could that stop, of all places, no longer be a stop? Luckily, he was nice enough to let me off there anyway but warned that he wouldn't do it again. As he dropped me off, though, I could see why it wasn't a bus stop anymore. The stop, with its telltale sign and booth, was right next to an intersection. The only reason his dropping me off went as smoothly as it did was that he had a red light. Thankfully, I found the free shuttle that goes directly to the Exton train station, but I'm sure others who depend on Septa busing aren't so lucky. Moreover, my stop wasn't the only stop no longer in use. The driver had explained quickly just as I was walking off that many of the stops discontinued were evaluated as either dangerous or unnecessary.
So, moral of the story, check the schedules online (found here) and make sure where you're planning on going is still a stop.
3. Arrive at school early for the best parking spots, even though you have a parking pass
From someone with a friend who drives as their daily commute to West Chester, I have this bit of advice: arrive early! Sounds like a nag from your mom? Well it's not--- not only am I not your mother, but it's more foreboding like a warning or a threat. You don't want to arrive just before class only to find that there is no place to park, do you? My friend had to drive back to her place once when she tried this stunt, because there were no parking places---not even meter parking spaces. What was she supposed to do, park in the street?
So, always arrive between 5-6 a.m. on weekdays. I know it's hard to get up early, but it's even harder to drive away and miss your class.
4. Don’t ignore commuter lounge --- it has some useful attributes
My first semester I wrote off the commuter lounge as just another room in Sykes. As someone without a meal plan (and better food at home, anyway) I carried my lunch around with me like a dweeb and ate everything cold. That was until one day, my friend said she wanted to study in the commuter lounge instead of the library. I was lukewarm to the idea, so I agreed. As soon as we walked in, I noticed the family sized fridge, microwaves, and computers next to a printer.
Ever since I've kept my food in the fridge and heated it up in the microwave. There's also nice, cushy seats with pull out desks, a good atmosphere, and a coffee shop but really, if you go for anything---go for the fridge.