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For a smaller Floridian city, Gainesville has a great mass transit system. Regardless of you're opinion of alternative transportation, you'll find that alternative transportation (especially the RTS bus) are a Godsend for those still in undergrad or those that like to go out. Since most student communities and major complexes dot the landscape around Gainesville, you won't too many that are incredibly convenient walks to campus or to bars. This is why you need to identify what communities offer public transportation.
To find an appropriate community you want to first find a community close to where you go everyday. Do you work in Butler Plaza? Are you a student that has most classes in the business school buildings? Do you work from home but go downtown a lot? Identify where you need to go most days and look for an apartment in that vicinity. Mass transit is great but being walking or cycling distance from something is even better.
To find apartments within a vicinity of a location go to Gainesville's apartment guide and click the "Distance to a Location" tab and input the address you want to live near. A good rule of thumb is you don't want to walk further than a mile in Gainesville's summer heat. Cycling is probably do-able at 2-4 miles. If you're suiting up for work, scratch that even more! If you want a location close to campus then click the "Miles to UF" tab which is easier.
RTS bus system
Most Gainesville apartments are not walking distance to major locations. The larger, affordable student communities are usually in areas far from campus but highly convenient for taking the bus. In the apartment guide, go to the "Public Transportation" tab and click Yes/No to the bus stop options. Don't be afraid of the distance of some of these apartments – Apartments like Cabana Beach are very far from campus but still somehow end up being very convenient for mass transiting!
Whether you're a club-goer or a boozehound, you want to conveniently get from the bar or club back home without driving. A DUI is about the worst thing you can graduate or leave Gainesville with so be careful about your driving choices. A popular option for Gainesville is the Later Gator service and several private shuttle services too. Believe it or not, UF's shuttle service (SNAP) actually picks up students from off-campus locations that are part of UF's housing. Private shuttle services are getting incredibly popular and affordable so scout out the best ones for your location.
Living without a car isn't easy under the hot Florida sun but you can survive without it with the Gainesville mass transit system… If you choose your community right. Apartments near Butler Plaza offer easy access to shopping, dining, and have many bus routes available to UF campus, so they might be a great place to start looking!