The College has several initiatives and partnerships with local public transportation systems to make traveling easier for students and better for the environment. These public transportation methods are more environmentally friendly than personal vehicles and help reduce Williams’ emissions levels.
The listing below helps make it easier for students, faculty, and staff to minimize fossil fuel use and prioritize sustainability in the midst of their busy lives. Even better, all of these options are available directly from campus!
Be sure to check out the How Do I Get To… page as well if you have a specific destination in mind.
Purple Bike Coalition
What is the Purple Bike Coalition? The Purple Bike Coalition (PBC) is Williams College's free bike service organization located on the ground floor of Mark Hopkins building. They offer bike repair services and a free bike loan program called the Purple Bike Rental (PBR).
What does it cost? PBC's services are free to all Williams students.
How do I use it?
- To borrow a bike, follow the easy steps outlined below and on the PBC website.
- Request a bike! Be aware that the program is popular and bikes may not always be available.
- Be sure to check PBC's schedule for pick-ups; you will need to request your bike several days in advance and the program isn't open every day.
- Make sure to return your bike by the required date.
- If you already own your own bike (which must be registered with Campus Safety and Security), you can bring it to the open hours on the PBC website for repairs.
Where can I go? Anywhere, as long as you're willing to bike all the way there! Williams Cycling suggests a range of possible rides ("beginner" to "difficult" and everything in between) on their website. Ask the Williams Outing Club (WOC) for ride suggestions or join one of their bike trips!
Where do I leave the bikes? As you cruise around campus, you'll see that bike racks abound. Here's a map of all bike racks on campus. There are also sixteen bike lockers on campus – each compartment is divided into two – which are located between Sawyer Library, Sewall House, and the Class of ’66 Environmental Center. Installed specifically for people who commute by bike to campus, they are a secure and dry place to store your bike during the day between commutes.
Walking is not only cost-free but also the most environmentally conscious form of transportation (even preferable to cycling, as no extra equipment must be manufactured and transported). It’s a healthy option to experience the beauty of the Berkshires and get around this small community. If you live off-campus, try walking instead of driving to classes/work… help to encourage a walking culture on campus whenever possible!
Where can I go? Potential destinations for a walker depend, of course, on the individual’s willingness and ability. Here’s the round trip mileage for some nearby spots:
- Stop & Shop: 4.2 miles round trip
- Wild Oats: 1.8 miles round trip
- Colonial Plaza (Rite Aid, Asian Mini Market, etc): 2.2 miles round trip
- The Berkshires contain an amazing network of trails! The Appalachian Trail crosses Route 2 in North Adams just outside of Williamstown (a short walk from Stop & Shop). Take the BRTA bus to access it! Day hikes on the AT could include Mount Williams, Mount Prospect, Mount Greylock, and so much more.
- Vermont’s Long Trail begins at the Williamstown border, and the Taconic Crest Trail (which passes the snowhole!) lies just over the border in New York state.
- Be sure to contact the Williams Outing Club (WOC) for information about local trails! For $10.00 a year, you can become a WOC member and borrow any necessary equipment for outdoor adventures. WOC also sells a detailed guide to Berkshire trails.
- One of the most popular local trails is the Pine Cobble trail, which offers beautiful views of Williamstown. The WOC website offers directions here. Every Friday, WOC leads a sunrise hike up Pine Cobble.
- The Williamstown Rural Land Foundation maintains a network of hiking trails around Williamstown. Check out their website for detailed descriptions.
All of these services are free, but if you're requesting a ride, be sure to offer to pay for gas or split the cost! Ride shares ensure that no more cars than necessary will be on the road, which decreases carbon emissions.
WSO is a website where Williams students can access a range of forums and databases about campus life. The ride share section allows students to post requests for ride shares or offer ride shares to fellow students.
- Log onto WSO with your Williams email account to post a request, offer a ride, or view current requests/offers.
- Requests and offers are sorted by date of potential ride.
Switchboard is a website similar to WSO where people can post offers and requests, but it's available to anyone in the Williams community, not just students. More information about Switchboard can be found here.
What is Zipcar? Zipcar is a care rental service available to Williams students, faculty, and staff. After signing up, you can rent one of the four Williams Zipcars by the hour or by the day. Detailed information and instructions can be found at the Facilities website.
What does it cost? Zipcar charges you a yearly or monthly fee to sign up for the service, and then you pay per use on top of that. The yearly fee can be as low as $15 for students. To drive one of the Honda Civic Hybrids, you'd pay $8 per hour or $60 per day. To drive the Honda Element or Mini Cooper, you'd pay $11 per hour or $60 per day. This includes 180 free miles per day! Additional miles start at $0.35 each.
How to use it:
- To sign up for Zipcar, you must be 18 or older, have had a driver's license for at least one year, and had no accidents, major violations, or alcohol/drug-related violations. Detailed requirements can be found here.
- Gas, insurance, and reserved parking at Williams are all covered.
- Join Zipcar here.
- Select "Join with a university" and choose Williams College.
- Select the appropriate group from the drop down menu.
- Fill out the application (you will need a valid driver's license and debit or credit card).
- Your Zipcard will be mailed to you in about a week.
- To reserve a car, log into http://www.zipcar.com.
- Be sure to follow all instructions on the website and return your car by the designated time!
- The cars have reserved spots in the lower level of the Greylock parking garage.
- Use your Zipcard to unlock the car. The keys are inside.
- Use the gas card in the car to fill the tank. Make sure to return the car with the tank at least a quarter full.
Where does it go? Anywhere!
Williams owns and operates approximately 90 vehicles, many of which are dedicated to individual departments. Others, though, are available for use by any member of the campus community. Some of these vehicles are used primarily on campus, while others are driven much further afield.
What is the Williams College van rental? Students can use college-owned vans for college activities (entries, clubs, and other student organizations are eligible). Detailed information can be found at the Facilities website.
What does it cost? Student organizations should have budgets to pay for gas and other necessary expenses.
How do I use it?
- The college rents both minivans and 12-passenger vans.
- Students must obtain a van license from Facilities and present a clean driving record.
- Be aware that vans are in demand; plan for your trip well in advance!
- Follow the detailed instructions on the Facilities website.
- Be sure to pay attention to potential fines or restrictions!
- The Facilities website also includes information about emergency protocol.
Where does it go? Anywhere!
What are the Sunday shuttles? Williams provides these local shuttles for students to visit local stories for necessities on a weekly basis.
What does it cost? Nothing! Sunday shuttles are free.
How do I use it?
- View the schedule here and write down which times and places you need to remember
- Show up to Goodrich Hall (where the bus departs) 5-10 minutes before departure
Where does it go? Wild Oats, Rite Aid/Colonial Plaza, Stop & Shop, Wal-Mart, Main Street North Adams
What is Williams Motorcoach? Williams Motorcoach is the busing service that connects students to transportation hubs before and after official college breaks and occasionally for weekend trips. Buses run to Albany Int'l Airport, Boston Logan Int'l Airport, Boston North Station, and NYC Penn Station.
What does it cost? As the FAQ states, rides to and from Albany International Airport cost $20.00 each way, rides to and from Boston or NYC cost $35.00 each way, subject to change. Tickets purchased more than 3 weeks in advance will receive a 15% discount.
How do I use it?
- Check the schedule for dates and times.
- Book your tickets on Peoplesoft. Reservations open about 3 months before the Motorcoach runs and close at 9 pm the night before.
- Thoroughly peruse the Motorcoach FAQ for information about deadlines, refunds, E-tickets, pick up location, destinations, what to do if you miss the bus, and other logistics.
- The Motorcoach always departs precisely on time! Keep this in mind.
- Weekend trips to NYC and Boston are also occasionally available. Take a look at that schedule here.
- The Motorcoach has also recently begun charter bus service for student organizations! If your organization has a large group that needs to go some place, this could be a great option. Details are on the Motorcoach site.
Where does it go? NYC, Boston, and Albany.
What is the Green Mountain Express? Green Mountain Express is a bussing service based in Bennington, VT. It links Williamstown to Bennington and offers service to other Vermont towns and beyond.
What does it cost? Prices vary, but the Williamstown-Bennington route costs only $1.
How do I use it?
- The Purple Line connects Williamstown to Bennington and runs Monday-Friday, 7:00 am - 3:40 pm.
- It makes stops at the old Williams Inn, various businesses in Pownal, VT, and downtown Bennington.
- For $2 more, take the Orange Line to Manchester, VT.
- From Bennington, Vermont Translines (a separate bus service) offers transportation to Rutland, Burlington, and other Vermont cities.
- Check out this page for tips about connecting to other places in the area.
Where does it go? Pownal, Bennington, Manchester, Brattleboro, and other Vermont towns. Bus service to Bennington offers transportation to Bennington College and Southern Vermont College. Check out the Bennington Farmer's Market for locally-sourced food options!
What is the Peter Pan bus? Peter Pan Bus Lines is a bussing service that links states across the northeast, including Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Buses stop right on campus at the old Williams Inn.
What does it cost? Prices vary depending on the selected route and time. Tickets from Williamstown to New York City can cost around $30. A ticket to Philadelphia may cost around $50.
How do I use it?
- Purchase tickets here.
- The bus leaves from the old Williams Inn twice daily (10 am and 4 pm).
Where does it go? Anywhere! You can easily connect to other trains and buses through the Peter Pan Bus's Penn Station stop.