San Luis Obispo, CA
Tuition (in-state)
$19,071 ($8,043)
Admission Difficulty
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3 College Student

Transportation: It's easy to take the train from SLO to LA or SF, but the airport here is tiny and very expensive. Its also pretty easy to get a ride with someone, which is usually cheaper.

3 College Freshman

Transportation: Students get onto the bus for free with an ID card, but they only come once or twice an hour, and they stop running at 10 PM on weekdays and at 6 PM on weekends, so it can be pretty inconvenient if you were hoping to avoid walking.

4 College Junior

Transportation: The SLO bus system is free for all Cal Poly Students, which is very nice when you have to commute to a destination miles away and you don't own a car. I have never used the Zip Car system, but I have heard nothing but great reviews about the process. I wish taxis weren't so pricey, especially when a taxi is your only option to get the train station at 4 in the morning, but that's life.

3 College Freshman

Transportation: There's a small airport in the area, but most people need to get to San Francisco or Los Angeles, so it's a four hour drive both ways.

4 College Junior

Transportation: There are two bus stops on campus, one near the library in the lower part of campus and one by the student union building in the upper part of campus. In the evenings there are campus shuttles every 10 minutes at multiple locations that will take students to their dorms or off campus housing nearby.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 130th
    Best Campus Transit
  • 382nd
    Most Easily Accessible Town
  • 1163rd
    Best Car Campuses

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Amy Herman
Burbank CA
Liberal Studies
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

Public transportation throughout SLO is provided by SLO Transit and is subsidized by the University (which makes it free to students). Buses can be crowded at times, and they generally run twice per hour. This makes them less than ideal for students who maintain a tight schedule. It can be stressful when the bus is a minute or two late and full when it pulls up. 

Another option for transportation late at night (home from campus) is the Escort Van Service. There's a van that will drive students home for free from the University Union or library in between 7 p.m. and midnight, which is perfect for students who might walk to school in the morning and need a safe ride home at night. There are multiple taxi companies and also a company called SLO Safe Ride. Both are able to drive people around San Luis Obispo, particularly downtown for a night on the town. Zipcar is also present on campus for students without a car.

Facts & Statistics

Best Ways to Get Around Town
  • Bike
  • Bus
  • Get a ride
  • Motorcycle or scooter
Best Ways to Get to the Airport
  • A cab to the airport costs approximately $15.
  • Take a bus, a cab, or have someone drive you.
Did You Know?
Cal Poly's Escort Van will drop off students anywhere within a half-mile of campus—for free!

Safety Escort ServicesWhat's This?

Escort Van Service
(805) 756-2281
Sunday–Thursday 7 p.m.–12 a.m.

Public TransitWhat's This?

SLO Transit

If you show your student ID, you can ride for free.

(805) 541-2877

29 Prado Rd.

Nearest AirportWhat's This?

San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport

The terminal is open from 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

9035 Airport Drive

(805) 781-5205

Nearest Passenger BusWhat's This?


This station is about a six-minute drive or roughly 4.5 miles from campus.

1460 Calle Joaquin St.

(800) 231-2222

Nearest Passenger TrainWhat's This?


Amtrak is notoriously late and always slow. Be prepared to sit back with a book for a long, leisurely ride.

1011 Railroad Ave.

(800) 872-7245

Student Polls

How convenient is the campus-provided transportation?    Based on 93 responses

  • 8% Nonexistent.
  • 1% Extremely difficult to utilize-it's not reliable nor is it convenient for a student's schedule.
  • 10% Moderately difficult to utilize, the pick-up times and locations are far and few between.
  • 29% Somewhat accessible with a schedule that usually parallels class times.
  • 53% Easily accessible, runs frequently and has many pick-up locations.

How necessary is it to have a car on campus?    Based on 93 responses

  • 0% You can't have a car here.
  • 5% Cars are totally pointless. Everything you need is within walking distance.
  • 83% Students usually walk or take the bus, but cars are nice for venturing outside the bus line.
  • 9% The shuttle/bus service often fails to meet student needs, so a car is very practical.
  • 3% Campus is isolated, so students rely mostly on cars to get them where they need to go.

How easy is it to get around town?    Based on 92 responses

  • 1% Very difficult.
  • 8% Fairly difficult.
  • 47% Fairly easy.
  • 45% Very easy.

Rate the cost of the following transit options    Based on 92 responses

  • Campus shuttle
  • Public transportation
  • Taxis
  • Zip cars

Rate the convenience of the following transit options    Based on 92 responses

Very convenient
  • Campus shuttle
  • Public transportation
  • Taxis
  • Zip cars

Rate the convenience of long-distance transportation to travel between home and school    Based on 92 responses

Very convenient
  • Airport
  • Passenger bus
  • Passenger train
  • Ride sharing
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