What is healthy commuting? Sometimes called active commuting or active transportation, we’re talking about using your muscle power for any part of your travel to and around BU. Some benefits might seem obvious, like improving physical and mental health, but you may also find your commute to be more reliable, predictable, and you might even save money.
Commuting to BU by bike, scooter or on foot doesn’t have to be your only choice; you can combine these options with transit or driving. It also doesn’t have to be scary – there are many good routes to get to campus and they often aren’t the same way you drive here!
Many of these commuter benefits are provided by Parking & Transportation Services on the Charles River Campus and by TranSComm on the Medical Campus. Contact either department with questions on getting your healthy commute started.
Want to bike, walk or run to BU but worried about getting sweaty on the way? No problem! BU employees have access to free showers at several locations on the Charles River Campus:
- Track and Tennis Center, 100 Ashford Street – locker rooms are to the left when you enter – show your BU ID and let the attendant know you are a bike/walk/run commuter
- 25 Buick Street – first floor near Accounts Payable department
- Yawkey Student Center, 100 Bay State Road – basement level near Facilities
Looking for showers on the Medical Campus? Contact TranSComm to find locations near you.
You might be able to bike the whole way to work, part of the way, or to get to meetings. No matter what, we have resources to support you.
- Free helmets – because we want you to be safe! Anyone who incorporates bicycling into their commute to BU and needs* a helmet is welcome to pick one up for free from either of these locations:
- Office of Judicial Affairs, 19 Deerfield Street, 3rd floor
- Parking & Transportation Services, 1019 Commonwealth Avenue
Both offices are open weekdays 9am to 5pm. Just bring your BU ID and let us know how your bike commute is going.
- Bluebikes discounted memberships – Charles River Campus faculty and staff are now eligible for a discounted annual Bluebikes membership of only $52.50 – this allows you unlimited free rides (up to 30 minutes), and with over 1,300 bikes throughout Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville, this can be a great addition to your commute or bike to meetings. You can use Hubway for the entire trip or pick up a bike near your transit stop.
- Bike Parking – If you bring your own bike to campus, you need to know where to park it. There are thousands of bike parking spaces between both campuses which you can find on BU Maps (just click on ‘bike racks’). Worried about leaving your bike outside? There are indoor locations around campus like the Warren Towers bike room. Parking & Transportation can help you identify other options based on your work location. Please be sure to register your bike so you can stay informed about bike related events.
- Tire Pumps and Repair Stations – When you need some air (in your tires) or minor DIY maintenance, Parking & Transportation Services can help. There is a tire pump and repair station in the Warren Towers bike room, and we are adding more around campus. Contact them to find a tire pump, repair station or patch kit near you!
- Bike Safety Classes – For tips on safe cycling in the city, maintaining your bike, becoming a year-round bike commuters, or learning to fix a flat tire, check in with the BU Bike Safety website for classes throughout the year, and let them know if there is a particular class you would like them to host.
- Get physically and mentally prepared – If you need to build up to a bike commute, check out the supportive Employee Wellness programs offered by FitRec; you might find a workshop or training program that will help address your concerns. If you think your only option is to bike on busy main streets, you may be very surprised to learn about alternatives. Tell us where your commute begins and ends, and we can provide suggestions on routes that involve less or no vehicle traffic.
*Do you need a helmet? If you bike to BU and don’t have a helmet, if yours is more than three years old or has sustained an impact, then YES, you need a new helmet!
BU Shuttle (BUS)
The BUS is a private shuttle for the BU community that provides service between the Charles River Campus and Medical Campus Monday through Saturday with additional late night service on the Charles River Campus during the academic year.
This is a free transit service but please be prepared to show your BU ID to the driver. Visit the BUS website to find current schedules; track the BUS in real-time on the Live View tab and on the BU Mobile App; and follow @BUShuttle on Twitter for service updates.
Walking and Running
Take the unpredictability out of your travel to and around campus by trusting your own feet to get you there.
Need a quick tip? It might be as simple as hopping off the MBTA a stop or two early, or even taking a different transit line, then walking the remaining distance to your office. Although the Charles River Campus is over a mile long, for many of us walking to meetings can be 10 to 15 minutes at most. So, don’t struggle with taking your own car or trying to get the timing right with a transit option. Try it and compare the timing with your usual commute. Parking & Transportation Services can also help you with their Personalized Commuting Assistance.
Looking for some motivation? There are many apps that help you track your activity. You might also find a new, interesting route to or near campus – visit the WalkBoston website for some good suggestions.
Need help getting started? If you live a little further away from campus and want to become a running commuter, a great place to start is with some advice from The Run Commuter. If you need to build up to a walking or running commute, check out the supportive Join the Movement programs offered by FitRec; you might find a workshop or training program that will help address your concerns.
Worried about getting sweaty? Don’t forget the shower locations we mentioned earlier!
Combine Your Options
Think you have to fully commit to bicycling, walking, running or taking transit for your commute? You might get the best of all worlds by combining your options into multi-modal travel. Here are a few ideas:
Park&Pedal – a great program that identifies Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) locations where you can park your car – for FREE – and then bike (or walk or run) the remaining few miles to your office. Some Park&Pedal lots are even located near Hubway stations so you don’t have to bring your own bike. Check out the map of Park&Pedal locations, and let us know how we can help you figure out a good plan.
Pedal & Park – rather than drive and bike, you can bike and take transit. The MBTA has installed cages for more secure bike parking at several commuter rail and subway stations, so you can bike to the station instead of driving or using additional transit services – visit their site for all the locations and to register your CharlieCard for free access to these bike cages.
Bikes on the T – why leave your bike behind if you could take it with you? The MBTA allows cyclists to bring bikes on the subway and commuter rail outside of peak travel time (except the Green Line); folding bikes are allowed anytime when they are folded up. Almost all MBTA buses are also now equipped with bike racks, a great option for surprises like a sudden change in weather or a flat tire, or if there are parts of your route that aren’t great for cycling.
Personalized Assistance – Does the idea of putting bikes on buses and combining driving and bicycling seem like too much? Don’t be nervous, just let us know how we can help you!