Getting around without a car is always an inconvenience, especially outside of a large city.
Traveling to and from work, school or home can be difficult without a robust transit system — something most smaller cities just can’t afford. It’s a problem that can cause a lot of headaches, especially because a growing number of American households don’t have an automobile.
There are some ways to get around Columbus without a car. Uber, Lyft, the METRA transit system, various taxi services and a growing walking/cycling network can ease the sting a little.
But what about if you need to leave the city entirely?
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Until the much-discussed high speed rail project linking Columbus and Atlanta actually materialized, traveling outside the city can be a planning hassle. But it doesn’t have to be. Here, in no particular order, are the six best ways to get out of Columbus if you don’t have a car.
1. Groome Transportation
Groome provides fixed-price shuttles to and from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport from their headquarters on Harley Court. For an extra fee, they’ll pick you up anywhere in the city and take you back to the station to catch your ride. Groome is a flexible option — shuttles leave every 30 minutes on average. You can also use Groome to get to other cities like Athens, Warner Robbins, Augusta, Macon, LaGrange, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Auburn, Ala.
2. Greyhound Bus Lines
Greyhound’s main bus station is located on Veterans Parkway, and is one of the cheaper options for getting out of town, depending on where you’re going. An outbound trip to Harsfield-Jackson will run you between $20-30 on average. But schedules are limited and prices can fluctuate by day, making this one of the more unpredictable choices. Fares to other cities can also be prohibitively expensive and just as unpredictable.
3. Uber and Lyft
Uber and Lyft have taken over cities across the United States. These quick, easy and reliable ride-sharing services pick-up and drop-off riders anywhere through their intuitive smartphone apps. But you don’t need to stay in Columbus to use these services — they can take you as far as the Hartsfield–Jackson and most other areas around the region. A trip to the airport will probably cost over $100. It’s not the cheapest option, but the fare includes passengers and will take you directly to your terminal.
4. Columbus Airport
The Columbus Airport has direct flights to Atlanta for those who want to make the trip as quickly as possible. Flying out of Columbus can be a little pricier than flying directly from Atlanta, but you’ll save time and aggravation at security and won’t need to find a ride up to the city.
Taxi services are some of the most expensive options, but also the most flexible. Taxis can drive virtually anywhere as long as you’ll pay, and are available 24/7. An average taxi fair for one passenger to Hartsfield-Jackson is $160, plus tip.
Carpooling with friends or family is the cheapest (and probably most enjoyable) option for traveling out of the city, but if you can’t find anyone, sites like CarpoolWorld can help connect you with others looking to share their commute. You might be asked to split the gas money or buy some food, but it’s a good option for those trying to travel to places other than Atlanta or who aren’t on a tight schedule.
Scott Berson: 706-571-8578, @ScottBersonLE