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How To: Use the Beloit Transit System

April 2, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Ever wanted to take a Beloit bus, but felt daunted by the times, locations, schedules? No worries. Terrarium writers Kate Atkinson’15 and Sasha Debevec-McKenney’12 tried it out for you, using the Beloit Transit System to get to two useful destinations in Beloit that are a little far to reach by foot: Woodman’s, and Wal-Mart.

First, some basics. The bus stop closest to campus is located at the corner of Park Avenue and Emerson Street, but all routes leave from the Transfer Facility on Shirland Avenue as well—that’s where our writers started their journeys. That’s just past downtown, at the base of the Beloit water tower (to reach it by foot, head south on State Street and take a right on Shirland Ave., which is right on the state line). You do not need tokens, and you can pay the driver in cash if you have exact change.

For route maps: click here.

For bus schedules: click here.

For basic information on Beloit Transit: click here.

How To: bus 

Wal-Mart route

By Kate Atkinson’15

On a recent bus trip to Wal-Mart for the Terrarium, I found that the Beloit buses are not only easy to navigate, but they are operated by friendly people who you might not get a chance to chat with otherwise.

BTS has four lines which run Monday through Saturday (the Saturday schedule is different from the weekly schedule and is posted separately), plus the Janesville Express which is slightly more expensive and runs less frequently.

All routes depart from the Transfer Facility (on Shirland Ave.) every 40 minutes, and a roundtrip fare is $3, single fare $1.50. Bus tokens can be bought at the Transfer Facility in packs of 4 ($5), 8 ($10), or 17 ($20). If you don’t want to buy a pack of tokens, you can pay in cash when you get on the bus, but you must have exact change.

I took Route 4 (the green line) from the Transit Facility to Wal-Mart in the late afternoon. I only had enough cash on me for one round trip, so I paid the bus driver directly when I got on the bus.

There was only one other woman on the bus when I got on and since the bus had arrived at the Transit Facility early, the driver came and sat across from me and chatted away while we waited for other passengers. He inquired about my major, where I’m from, and whether I’m a Patriots fan. My responses must have been satisfactory because we continued to chat for the rest of the ride.  

The one other woman on the bus got off at the first stop, so I spent most of the ride as the only passenger. The bus driver insisted that on the way back he would drop me off closer to the college so I wouldn’t have to walk so far. Though the route to Wal-Mart is familiar, I enjoyed looking out the window from inside the warm bus.

It took the bus just under 20 minutes to get to Wal-Mart. I had 40 minutes to walk around before the bus came back, which was more than enough time to experience the mania of Wal-Mart on the day before Valentine’s Day.

Although the Beloit Transit System isn’t the cheapest or most frequent bus service I’ve ever encountered, I very much enjoyed the company of my friendly and helpful bus driver, and I would definitely recommend at least one bus trip to anyone who hasn’t tried it.

How To: bus 2 

Woodman’s route

By Sasha Debevec-McKenney’12

The best part about taking the bus is it’s cheap. Cheaper, let’s say, than putting five dollars of gas into your friend’s car even though you’re really only driving it a mile or two. I got to Woodman’s for $1.50. That’s less than the average ATM fee and because the ATM at Woodman’s doesn’t have a fee, it all evens out.

I actually got there for free—my friend had an old bus pass that he got in his FYI last fall. Allen-Bradley Professor of Economics Jeff Adams gave them to his entire FYI. (Note: this is a great idea. All FYI professors should give their students bus passes. Maybe they’ll use them. )

The bus route map and schedule are pretty easy to figure out. The Woodman’s stop is on two different routes—Route One (which gets you to Woodman’s a little faster) and Route Two. If you start taking the bus regularly and are looking to spice up your Monday bus ride, you can just take Route Two instead of Route One! It’s all very exciting.

The walk from campus to the Transit Station is short; walk towards the Post Office and look left for the buses. If you’re not sure which bus is which, then take advantage of the Midwestern kindness of pretty much everybody around you and ask. On both buses I took, the driver was friendly, if not friends, with all the passengers, which was a good reminder that the Beloit community exists outside of our bubble. It made me feel like an outsider, but then the driver turned the radio on to “Tracks of my Tears” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles—my very favorite song of all time. I took that as a sign: this bus trip would be good.

And it was better than that—the snow hadn’t melted yet and Beloit looked beautiful. I saw Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church’s red door for the first time. I saw the cool playground outside of Kiddie Ranch Daycare and wanted to get off the bus right there and play. The trip is 15minutes long and, at least the first few times, I’d recommend you don’t spend it texting. Look around and get to know Beloit a little.

There’s a bus at Woodman’s every 40 minutes, which is a pretty reasonable amount of time to do your shopping if you bring a list. If you finish your shopping a little early, just explore Woodman’s—did you know, for example, that they have an entire section dedicated to jerky?