When going to any place on campus or in town, Amherst students either walk or bike—when they’re not up to their knees in snow. For farther trips, students usually use the PVTA bus system because Amherst students can travel at no charge to and from the towns of Amherst, Holyoke, and Northampton with their College ID. Free public transportation is provided thanks to the Five-College Consortium, which allows each student who attends one of the five schools in the area to utilize the curriculums of the other four. For longer distances, Peter Pan (the Northeast service provider for Greyhound) is the most efficient option, even though those buses take forever to get anywhere.
Although nothing beats having your own car, there is general satisfaction with the bus service (although some students eventually become tired of riding the long bus routes). A big plus is that the buses run at night, which is a positive influence on the social scene here because it makes all parties accessible to all students in the five-college area. It’s common to see students from other colleges hanging out at Amherst, and these frequent interactions provide another dimension to the vivid social experience here. For students who do not have their own car and are not overly fond of the public transportation system, there is an alternative: ZipCars. These small, environmentally safe vehicles are accessible (for a small fee) to members of the Amherst College community.