Tiger Line is MU’s free student shuttle service. It runs seven days a week during the fall and spring semesters. The day routes run Monday–Friday and serve all of campus, including commuter parking lots. The night routes run all week and include stops downtown and at other shopping areas. For more information, check schedules and routes online.
GoCOMO is the city of Columbia’s public bus service. It offers a low $1.50 one-way fare or $3 all-day passes, payable in cash on the bus with exact change. Students have the option to purchase a semester pass with unlimited rides for $100 (student ID required). Passes can be purchased online or at the Wabash Bus Station, 126 N. Tenth Street (map). Route maps and schedules are available online or through the GoCOMO app (available for Android and Apple devices). Buses pick up passengers at points along the routes that are designated with bus stop signs.
Columbia has multiple bicycle trails and well as designated bicycle routes on some public streets. Bicyclists are expected to ride along the right side of the street and follow the same traffic regulations as motor vehicle drivers. PedNet Coalition, an organization dedicated to encouraging active travel such as walking and bicycling, offers courses in bike riding.
GetAbout Columbia provides numerous resources for biking and walking around the city. Check out the extensive online biking guide for routes, road rules, safety advice, bike rack information and more.
All bicycles must be registered and licensed with the City of Columbia. This can be done through the MU Police property registration service or at any city fire station (call 573-874-7391 to find one near you). Registering your bike will increase your chance of getting it back if it is lost or stolen.
The MU Sustainability Office offers a Bike Resource Center, where you can learn about bike safety and have basic bike repairs done for free. In addition, there are several self-serve bike repair stations located near bike racks on campus and along several community bike trails.
The Columbia Regional Airport has a good list of taxi, shuttle and limousine services in mid-Missouri. You can also search online. All taxi cabs are metered, so the cost depends on the distance you travel. Ask about the rate before hiring the cab. When you need a taxi cab, it is best to call ahead and request one be sent to your location.
Ride-booking services like Uber and Lyft are also available in Columbia.
STRIPES is a student-run program that provides safe and confidential rides home within the city limits of Columbia for any MU student and their guests. It runs from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the fall and spring semesters. To request a ride, call 573-442-9672; you will need to show your student ID.
You must have a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle or motor-driven cycle on public roadways.
Renting a car
MU has partnered with Enterprise CarShare to provide easy access to rental cars on campus. The program is open to MU students, faculty and staff ages 18 and older, and all applicants must provide a valid .edu email address, valid driver’s license and valid major credit card in their name. Information about rental costs and processes is available on the Enterprise CarShare website.
There are several other options for car rentals in Columbia. You can find car rental companies by searching online.
Buying and owning a car
To find cars for sale, look at reputable automotive dealerships online, in the classified sections of Columbia newspapers or on classified ad websites. You should be sure to test-drive the car and feel comfortable driving it before you buy it.
Though prices are fixed for most purchases in the United States, a car is one of the few exceptions. You can and should bargain for the price of a car. The advertised sticker price is only a starting point. Prices vary widely based on a number of factors, including make and model, mileage, age of the car and features, so shop around before buying. If you do not want extra features, do not be pressured into buying them.
Check Consumer Reports for both new and used cars to learn about each car model’s good and bad points. When buying a used car, it is often wise to have a mechanic not associated with the seller inspect the car.
The cost of buying a car includes sales tax, licensing fees and inspections. The cost of maintaining a car includes insurance, fuel, repairs and parking fees. Insurance and licensing are required by law.
Licensing a car
The Missouri Department of Revenue provides information about motor vehicle licensing (also called titling). The State of Missouri administers a motor vehicle inspection program to ensure the safe driving condition of all vehicles. This inspection is required to obtain or renew your license plates. Instructions for licensing your car are available on the Department of Revenue website.
Automobile insurance is required by law. The Missouri Department of Revenue provides auto insurance and accident information. If your car is involved in an accident that is your fault, you are legally required to pay for the damages, so it is worth the cost to have good insurance. If the accident is not your fault, you may still have to pay to repair your own vehicle. Keep in mind the following types of insurance when making a selection:
- Liability insurance pays for damages to other people or to their vehicles. This type of insurance is required by Missouri law. Not having liability auto insurance is a misdemeanor and can be punishable by imprisonment for up to one year.
- Medical insurance covers the cost for injuries sustained by you or your passengers.
- Collision insurance covers loss or damage to your car resulting from a collision.
- Comprehensive insurance covers loss or damage to your car caused by fire, storms, theft or vandalism.