So, you decided to commute.
Now comes the next question, what mode of transportation am I going to use? Should I take the bus? Should I drive? What is the most convenient and economically sound thing to do?
Well you've come to the right place. For the last year I have done both, traveling from the SF Valley to UCLA both on bus and driving. I've lived through the pros and cons of both sides and I'm here to shine a light on them so that you can make the best decision for yourself. Let's look at what factors your should take into consideration.
An advantage to taking the bus is that you don't really have to pay attention to the road constantly, therefore if you really want you can take a nap, watch your favorite movie or TV show, or study on your way from and to school. However, if you have a long ride on the bus, chances are you will get sleepy (trust me there's something about just looking at the window too much that knocks you out) so just be prepared for that.
On the other hand driving keeps you alert, you have to pay attention to the road, but you can jam out to your car. In your car you have the privacy to sing at the top of your lungs or do whatever you want. Additionally, you'll have your car on campus where you can take a nap during your gaps, or just have your own space during a long day of school. But when you take the bus you pretty much can only nap in the library or anywhere else you can find where everyone can see you.
With your car, you can also leave campus whenever you want - no having to wait for the bus or checking an app to see if you'll be able to catch the next bus - you can leave and come as you go. Taking your car is also sometimes quicker to get home because with the bus there are stops very often. You also have to take into consideration that with the bus you might not find a seat sometimes, which means you might have to stand up the whole way home. But when you drive you don't have to worry about that.
Now let's talk about the financial aspect of this. Driving a car requires two very expensive things: a parking permit and gas money. If you're school is anything like mine, there is no way around buying the $249 parking permit. Parking on the street is like finding a needle in a haystack. You also have to think about the amount of gas you are spending because it adds up. Trust me, you will be paying attention to gas prices like never before because man, it's a cost. Driving is expensive. The bus has the upper hand on this because a bus pass for a month is about $30 which is wayyy cheaper.
These are the most noticeable differences I saw during my commute in both modes of transportation. I opted for driving two of the quarters after my first quarter of taking the bus. But for summer classes I've decided to just take the bus again. It was too expensive and I'm no rush to get home quickly now. However starting the regular school year I do plan to take my car once again because I will be having to come and go from place to place and taking the bus would be too complicated.
It all depends on your lifestyle and preference. I hope these tips gave you some insight into what to expect and how to decide which to use. And, good luck my friend - commuting can be a struggle but you got this!