From bikes to buses, cars to inclines, there are a lot of ways to get around town. In addition to public transportation, the university operates five shuttle routes for Carnegie Mellon students. As you think about where to live, consider your transportation options. Google Maps can show you the distance between campus, your apartment, and local attractions.
Pittsburgh is pedestrian-friendly, particularly around campus, downtown, and the East End. But because of its topography — hills and rivers and bridges, oh my! — walking far distances can be challenging, especially in the winter. However, most of the neighborhoods where graduate students live are within 20-30 minutes walking distance of campus, and many students walk to campus regardless of the weather.
In addition to getting to and from campus, most Pittsburgh neighborhoods are walkable. You shouldn't have any trouble getting from your apartment to grocery stores, pharmacies, dining, or local entertainment options like shopping, movie theaters, or bars. For getting between neighborhoods, though, you may want to consider biking or public transportation.
Biking is another great option for getting to and from campus. City buses are often overcrowded when school is in session and parking near campus is considerably restricted and expensive. The city has many dedicated bike lanes — and more on the way — to encourage more people to bike to work or school.
Tips for safe and courteous biking can be found on the Intercultural Communication Center's guide, Getting Around Town: Riding Buses and Bicycles in Pittsburgh.
Biking to Campus
The university has bike racks located throughout the campus and Parking & Transportation Services rents individual lockers large enough to store your bicycle, helmet, and shoes. Bike lockers are located in the East Campus Garage and Gates Garage. If you bike to campus, you should register your bike with the university police to help protect against damage or theft. And always lock your bike!
Biking Around the City & Maintainence
Need to learn the best route to campus? Want help getting your bike road-ready? The organization Bike PGH! offers printable and interactive maps that show routes through city streets and public parks, including notes from seasoned cyclists about the best routes or places to avoid. They also maintain a list of local bike shops, clubs, and events, and have previously partnered with Graduate Student Assembly to host free on-campus tune-ups.
Don't own a bike but still want to ride?
Healthy Ride is a public bicycle sharing system operated by Pittsburgh Bike Share. Riders can rent a bike from over 50 locations across the city, many of which are located within just a few blocks of campus, and can return bikes to any Healthy Ride station. To get started, register for an account via the mobile app or website and find your bike!
Students pay a transportation fee each fall and spring semester, so you can use your student ID Card to access Port Authority (PAT) transportation, including city buses, the T, and the inclines. Take a ride to Station Square and hop on the incline to check out some of the best views in the city!
For longer trips, you can also bring your bike on the bus. PAT buses are equipped with a front-mounted bike rack that holds two bicycles. Bike racks will accommodate two-wheeled bicycles with a wheel size of 16 inches or larger, with the exception of tandem, recumbent and motorized bikes.
To view PAT maps and schedules, including incline information and airport service, visit the Port Authority website.
To learn to successfully navigate the bus system and to better understand the etiquette of bus riding in Pittsburgh, consult the Intercultural Communication Center's guide, Getting Around Town: Riding Buses and Bicycles in Pittsburgh.
Carnegie Mellon Shuttle and Escort Service
To track CMU Shuttles or Escorts in real-time, or to download the bus tracker app, visit the Bus Tracker website.
The Carnegie Mellon shuttle service is a fixed-route, fixed-stop transportation option which is available to all CMU students, faculty, and staff. Presently, the shuttle services Oakland and Shadyside. The Shadyside service is an option for students who wish to visit the East Liberty business, restaurant, and shopping area. The Oakland service is a great option for students who also take classes at the University of Pittsburgh.
The university also provides daily, roundtrip service from campus to Bakery Square (Google headquarters) and the Pittsburgh Technology Center. The Bakery Square shuttle operates ten hours a day on weekdays. The PTC shuttle operates 16 hours a day during the week and ten hours a day during the weekend. The PTC also provides a transporation option to campus for CMU affiliates who reside in the Greenfield area.
Refer to the university's Shuttle & Escort page for route links, specific route schedules, and stops.
The university escort service is a transportation option that services Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, and Oakland. This is an evening and night time service that operates from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. The mission of the escort service is to get CMU community members home safely by transporting them to the intersection nearest their residence. Service is limited to a 1.5 mile radius of the main campus. The escort service is to be utilized exclusively as a means to get from campus to one's residence. It is not available as a transportation option to get to campus or other locations.
To view service areas or designated escort pick-up locations, visit the Escort Service page.
Driving & Parking
For getting to and from campus, driving is probably your least desirable option, especially if you live in a neighborhood serviced by the campus shuttles or that is close enough to walk or bike.
Metered parking is available along Schenley Drive, Tech Street, and Frew Street, though space is limited and it can get expensive to park for more than a couple of hours. Parking is also available in the East Campus Garage and Gates Garage for an hourly rate.
The university operates numerous parking lots, which require a yearly permit. For more information about campus parking permits, including disability and universal permits, and rates, contact Parking & Transporation Services.
Much of the street parking in neighborhoods adjacent to campus is permit-only and strictly enforced. Before you sign a lease, check the Port Authority's Residential Permit Parking website or ask your landlord. Apartment buildings with garages/lots almost always require a permit from the rental company or property manager. If you live in an apartment without a garage/parking lot, you may still need to purchase a city street permit. Your landloard will be able to tell you which, if any, permit you need.
Taxis and Rental Cars
If you need to travel away from campus or late at night, there are numerous transportation options available.
- Yellow Cab operates over 325 taxicabs on "call and demand" service. Yellow Cabs are safe and available 24/7, but riders often experience significant wait times for pick up.
- Uber and Lyft offer private taxi or shared ride service, which you can order from your smartphone. Rides are cheap, reliable, and fast.
- Zipcar offers car sharing and car rental for longer trips. This is a great option if you need a car for a few hours or an entire day. Gas and insurance are included in the rental price, and cars are conveniently located for pick-up at designated lots and spaces around the city. You will need to sign up for an account prior to renting a car. However, it may take a few days for your account to be approved and for you to receive your Zipcard, so plan ahead if you intend to use this service. Zipcar also offers special introductory rates for Carnegie Mellon students, faculty and staff.