In the Azusa area, having a car is one of the most beneficial things you can do as a student. Editor-in-Chief Brady Back shares his take. 

There is no substitute for the freedom awarded to a student at Azusa Pacific University with their own car. Having a car most certainly benefits both local and out-of-state students. While it may not be the biggest necessity for freshmen, upperclassmen should all be vying for their own vehicle on campus. 

As an out-of-state student from Michigan, having a car during my first few years of college wasn’t realistic. My freshman year was online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so my first year on campus was 2021 as a sophomore. As much fun as my sophomore year was, having a car would have made my life so much easier. 

There are plenty of food options within walking distance from campus to grab a quick bite to eat, but actually buying groceries without a car is a pain. Unless you are unfortunate enough to be stuck in the Shire Mods, walking to Stater Bros or taking the metro to Target every week for groceries is both a hassle, and limits how much food you can actually buy given that you have to carry it back. 

I can’t tell you how many times I dreaded buying groceries given the simple fact that carrying it back to University Village or formerly University Park simply wasn’t fun. Although I had a roommate with a car, our schedules rarely lined up to where we both had time to grocery shop together, which meant I’d be making the walk more often than I wanted to. 

Azusa also isn’t the most college-friendly town in terms of activities and nightlife on the weekend. For students looking to have fun by attending concerts, visiting the beach or simply exploring all that Los Angeles has to offer, a car is almost always required. 

The price of ridesharing apps in LA is so astronomical, it’s almost impossible for college students to afford them. For example, my last Lyft transaction cost $93.99 to travel from Azusa to the Comedy Store in West Hollywood. 

Although public transportation options like the city bus and metro station are available, these services are often more trouble than they are worth. In a virtual town hall last spring organized by LA Metro, many citizens voiced concerns about unreliable bus schedules, safety concerns on metro trains and overall cleanliness of the services. From my own experiences, the buses aren’t reliable, and riding the metro warrants the feeling of needing an immediate shower. 

Even local students see the need to have a car on campus. Jeff Holley, a senior from Orange, CA explained, “We aren’t close to the beach, we aren’t close to downtown…I’ve been able to do everything I want like going home all the time. Without a car I’d feel trapped here.”

Out-of-state students like myself can relate to the feeling of being trapped in Azusa. I even drove 2,145 miles from Grand Rapids, Michigan this summer just to have my own car. I’ve only had a car out here for three months, but the world of southern California has opened up to me like never before as a result. While it might not technically be a necessity, having a car at APU brings an entirely new perspective to campus life and the LA area.