Austin skyline

Getting Around Austin

Austin is a big place. Here are some helpful transportation tips and tricks on how to get around.

Bus

All UT Shuttles and Capital Metro bus & light rail services are FREE with your UT Photo ID! Check out where you can go on Capital Metro's system map. Call (512) 474-1200 for more information.


Bike

Bicycle Registration

All students, faculty, and staff must register their bicycles (operated or parked on campus) with Parking and Transportation Services (PTS). After registering, your free UT Bicycle Registration decal is mailed to you. The decal should be placed on the bicycle's frame on the bar that supports the seat. Visit BikeUT or call (512) 471-7275 for more information.

Bicycle Parking

Bikes must be parked only at designated bike racks and lockers. Bikes parked on stairs or secured to handrails, wheelchair ramps, and pedestrian walkways are subject to impoundment and a fine. Owners will not be reimbursed for the cost of locks cut during impoundments.

Road Rules

  • Buy a quality lock. A coated U-lock is recommended for highest security. Make sure both your frame and wheel are securely locked to the bicycle rack.
  • Wearing a helmet while riding is required by law and may prevent death or serious injury in the case of an accident.
  • Obey traffic signs. You must follow all road rules while riding your bike, including stopping at red lights and stop signs.
  • As a vehicle, you must yield to pedestrians and other vehicles. Don't ride on sidewalks and walkways – walk your bike instead.
  • Stay in your lane. The campus-wide speed limit is 15 mph. By riding in the center of the traffic lane, you are more visible to cars behind you and parked cars waiting to back out.
  • Lights at night. State law requires a white headlight and red rear reflector.
  • Bus etiquette. Buses pull to the right hand side of the road to load and unload passengers.

Car

Renting a Car

  • You must be at least 21 years old to rent a car.
  • To drive a car in Texas, you must have liability insurance. If you do not have this type of insurance, you will have to pay for it on a day-to-day basis.

Rental Car Companies

The following companies are located at the Austin airport and are open 7 days a week.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Open 6:30 a.m. – Midnight
(800) 257-1136

Alamo Rent-A-Car
Open 6:00 a.m. – Midnight
(888) 826-6893

Advantage Rent-A-Car
Open 6:00 a.m. – Midnight
(512) 389-2633

Ace Rental Cars
Open 6:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
(512) 961-5277

Hourly Rental Car and Car-sharing Companies

Services such as Zipcar rent cars on an hourly basis. They are usually app or web-based, allowing you to sign up from your phone or computer.

Buying a Car

Set Up a Budget

Owning and operating a car can be expensive. In addition to the price of the car, you must also consider the cost of sales tax, title application fees, yearly vehicle registration, auto insurance, routine maintenance, parking, and repairs. 

Buying a Used Car

Popular places to find used cars are at car dealerships or in the Classified Section of the Austin American Statesman. Compare prices and find other useful information with Kelley Blue Book online. Contact the seller to get further information before you go see a car. Ask for the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) when you speak with the owner. You can use the VIN number to check the vehicle’s history at Carfax or ask the dealership to provide a vehicle history report.

If you decide to buy from a private party, have an experienced driver test drive the car for you. Also, it is highly recommended that you take the car to an auto mechanic for a “buyer’s check.”

Car Titles and Registration

To avoid a financial penalty, you must transfer the car’s title within 30 days from the date of purchase. More information about registering your car can be found at the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. If you live in Austin, you will register your car at the Travis County Tax Office. The Tax Office is currently offering services by appointment only.

Auto Insurance

State law requires people who drive in Texas to pay for accidents they may cause. Most people do this with liability insurance. A liability policy pays to repair or replace the other driver's car and pays other people's medical expenses if you’re at fault in an accident.

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) provides an online guide to help you choose an insurance policy. Before purchasing insurance, get price quotes from several insurance companies. Use TDI’s HelpInsure service to get sample prices and compare policies. You will need your car’s VIN number and your driver's license number to buy insurance.

Driver's Licenses and ID Cards