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Transportation

While walking on-campus is a realistic option for most of our students, you may want to consider other options for transportation if you wish to travel to other parts of Columbia. We have some helpful tips for you as a new international student at USC.

On-Campus Transportation

USC offers several on-campus shuttles to take you to different areas of campus throughout the week. Different shuttles have different routes, so make sure you are taking the correct one when you are traveling across campus. The Carolina Shuttle runs Monday - Friday from 7:30am - 6pm.

If you are traveling after 6pm, the Evening Shuttle operates Monday - Friday from 5:30pm - 12:30am during the regular semester when classes are in session.

If you are traveling late at night, USC has two services that offer late night transportation to USC students, faculty, and staff. The Late Night Shuttle runs Monday - Friday from 12:30am - 6:30am when classes are in session. To call the shuttle, call +1-803-777-3351. Similarly, if you are traveling around campus late at night, the APO Escort Service also provides transportation in the evenings from 8pm - 12am, Sunday - Thursday. To call for a ride, dial +1-803-777-3825.

 

Off-Campus Transportation

If you plan to travel off-campus while you are a student at USC, there are many different methods you can use to explore Columbia.

The Comet

Columbia's city bus system is called, "The Comet." If you will not have a car at USC, this is one of the best ways to travel. You can find the different routes and timings on the Comet website. The buses generally come to each bus stop every 30 minutes on weekdays and once an hour on weekends. The Comet also gives students huge discounts. You can buy a U-pass for $80 or less and use it for the rest of the academic year as many times as you want with your student id. Bus passes are sometimes available in the International Student Services Office.

Bicycles

Some students choose to purchase a bicycle while they are a student at USC. If you do purchase a bicycle, be sure to register it with USC's Vehicle Management & Parking Services. In the event that your bicycle is lost or stolen, your bicycle registration will aid USC's law enforcement in recovering it. Be aware of bike safety laws in Columbia and always wear a helmet!

Driving in South Carolina

If you plan to drive a car while you are a student at USC, you will need to get a South Carolina driver's license from the SC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Important information about acquiring a driver's license can be found in our Forms Library.

Taxi Services

Calling a taxi in Columbia is not as easy as it is in some major cities that are filled with taxis on every street. You will need to call the taxi company directly if you need a taxi to pick you up. We recommend that our international students call one of the following companies if they need a taxi:

When you call, be prepared to tell the operator your initial pickup location, the number of riders that will be in the taxi, and your final destination.

Uber

Columbia's newest option for transportation is Uber. As an alternative to taking a taxi, Uber requires that you download their mobile app and create an account with them before you request a ride. Uber is similar to a taxi service, but is somewhat more technologically advanced. It has many modern features that most taxi services do not offer. It allows you to have an accurate estimate of the cost and time of your trip; you are able to see your driver's location and picture as they are driving to pick you up; and you can pay electronically and provide feedback about your experience.

 

Long-Distance Transportation

If you are looking to travel by air, the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) is the airport closest to USC. The Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) are also located within a few hours of Columbia.

The Amtrak is also a long-distance option for you if you wish to travel throughout the United States by train. Additionally, MegaBus is now available in Columbia if you plan to travel to other major cities while you are a student in the U.S.