Transportation is a very important issue. This page provides information and resources to better understand your transportation options. We want to help you get around Duke, Durham and the Triangle region as best you can. You are welcome to contact International House with specific transportation questions.
If you don't drive, or you won't have a car while you are here, do not be discouraged. It is fairly easy to get around without a car. It just takes some extra time and a bit of planning. There are lots of people living here without a car. Take a look at these transportation options.
Watch this short transportation video.
The Duke Bus System is FREE. You may get on and off Duke buses at no cost. The main bus lines are East-West (C1) and East-West-Central (C2). A third line is East-Science Drive weekdays during the school year (C3).
There is also the LaSalle Bus Loop which stops near many of the apartment complexes right off of West Campus.
Duke's new GPS transit system allows real-time location data for Duke buses. Duke community members and visitors can use a computer or mobile device to track buses at any of the 113 bus stops on and around campus. Visit this website to track buses.
For more information on Duke buses, click here.
If you would like to learn how to drive one day, Durham is an excellent place to learn how. Although driving lessons can be costly, we STRONGLY recommend lessons from a private company as opposed to learning from a friend. It is well worth the money. For information about driving lessons, there are several local driving schools: All Around Driving, Andes Driving School and Above Average Driving School.
To get a driver's license, you first need to pass a written exam (computer based) at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You'd better prepare for the exam. See the Driver's Handbook. Trying some practice test before hand would be very helpful.
After you pass the written exam (which is actually taken on a computer), you will get a learner's permit. With a Learner's Permit, you can practice driving under the guidance of an experienced driver. Finally, you need to take a road test if you want to get a full driver's license. In order to take the road test, you need to bring a car to the DMV and have automobile insurance in your name.
When you pass the road test, you will be issued a driver's license. You need to show your ID, proof of residency, and proof of auto insurance. If you do not own a car and just want to get a driver's license, you will need to get auto insurance. The Good news is, you can purchase a non-owner's insurance policy for around $180 a month.
If you plan to purchase a second-hand car, one question to consider is.... how LONG are you going to be in Durham?
If you are here for a year or less, you may want to think about leasing a car with First Choice Leasing.
Or you may want to walk, bike and sign up for Enterprise Car Share.
Students and Scholars and Spouses can drive in North Carolina on their home driver's license, as long as it has not expired.
What are the Steps to Purchase a Second-Hand Car?
We have watched hundreds of international students purchase a second-hand car. You can do it too. It just takes some time and energy and patience. And, of course, MONEY!
1. Obtain a North Carolina State ID or a North Carolina Learner's Permit at Getting a Driver's License link here.
Do not apply for these identifications until you have been to the Duke Visa Services office.
2. Start looking around at different cars. Read where to look for cars and how to purchase.
3. Take a Car that you are really interested in to the Automobile Mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. You will have to pay for this.
4. You can also inquire with Automobile Insurance Companies how much it will cost to insure the car you are interested in. See Auto Insurance section.
5. After negotiating the price, paying the seller, obtaining the Title of the Car and securing auto insurance, you will need to register your Car in North Carolina. For this you will go to the Department of Motor Vehicles Office: License Plate Office. Note: This is a different office than that DMV: Driver's License Office! Don't ask us why this is. See Registering Your Car And Obtaining Auto Tags section.
Questions? Contact us
Are you here for one year or less?
First Choice Leasing
works with you to find a car you would feel comfortable leasing. Minimum lease of 6 months is required although one can inquire about a four month lease (semester long lease). If you want to learn more about renting options.
Renting A Car
You must purchase a parking permit if you plan to park at Duke each day.
Automobile insurance companies charge a wide range of prices. Car insurance rates depend on the following: year, make, and model of car; residence location; how much your car will be used; your driving record in the USA, etc. The best plan is to shop around to compare prices, coverage, and services. Make sure to ask questions if you do not understand.
In the U.S., all cars must be insured and YOU ARE REQUIRED TO PURCHASE AN INSURANCE POLICY WHEN YOU BUY A CAR.
For more information, click here.
In the U.S., finding a reliable automobile mechanic is a difficult process. Although many mechanics are extremely skilled and honest, some may be looking to take advantage of people, or are just incompetent. To protect yourself from these situations it is important to find out from the mechanic ahead of time what work needs to be done before s/he begins working.
Due to possible language barriers, ask the mechanic to write down each inspection or repair that the mechanic is planning to make. Remember that it is your car and your money! Also, do not agree to let the mechanic do any work that was not discussed when you first took the car in. There have been situations where the mechanic will discover other problems with your car while fixing the original problem. Take care of one problem at a time the original one. Remember, before buying a used car, it is a very wise and acceptable to have a mechanic inspects the vehicle to make sure there are no problems. You must call for an appointment and fees.
Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee any of these mechanics or the prices! The comments in quotes are from international students & scholars.
For more information, read this.
You must have a North Carolina Driver's License OR a North Carolina Learners Permit OR a North Carolina State ID before you can register your car. The DMV offices listed below are where you get your license plate and register your car. You go to a different DMV Office to get your NC State ID, Learners Permit, or License. Please refer to our handout Getting a North Carolina Drivers License for locations to obtain a License, Permit, or ID.
For more information, click here.
There are various types of speeding violations in North Carolina. Depending on the speed limit that was violated and how far over the speed limit you are driving, the fines and consequences vary.
For more information on speeding tickets, click here.