In general, UCI students feel that the public transportation system in and around Irvine is inadequate at best, and students are definitely best off if they bring a car with them to campus. Irvine isn’t exactly a centralized metropolis—things here are pretty spread out. Buses can sometimes take up to two hours to get to a city that would ordinarily take only 20 minutes by car. On a better note, the city of Irvine’s bus system does serve some of the school’s apartment complexes, so students without a car do have that as an option. Public transportation—albeit free with an encoded UCI ID—is not exactly the best way to go if you’ve only got time for a quick night on the town. By the time you hit your destination, it’d be time for you to be heading back!
Fortunately, at UCI, there’s a rather large student commuter population to befriend and mooch off of. There are some shuttle systems around that service the area, but relying on them to get you back and forth means putting restrictions on your own schedule. To some students, the poor public transportation is just typical of the Southern California area. In the end, most students would say that your best bet is to hitch a ride with some friends if you are all going out to paint the town! Otherwise, good luck trying to cope with the Orange County public transportation systems.