Shuttle and Metro Transit City Bus
While many people use only cars to get around town, Minnesota does have a public bus and train system called Metro Transit. You can use their bus system to go almost everywhere in the twin cities. To get more information about the bus and train system and to plan your routes and trips, visit www.metrotransit.org. You can pay for bus by cash, or you can use a bus pass. You can get C Pass at University of St. Thomas Parking & Transportation Services. Other passes are available to buy at grocery stores, bookstores, convenient stores and on-line.
There is a free shuttle bus between the Minneapolis and St. Paul Campuses for UST students. You will need to show your UST ID card to take the shuttle. Click HERE for the shuttle schedule. There are ACTC buses that will go around all ACTC schools. For more information on ACTC bus, click HERE.
If you plan to drive a car while you are in Minnesota, first make sure you have a valid driver's license. You need to take a driving test in Minnesota to obtain local driver's license. You can park at UST by purchasing a parking pass. Visit the Parking & Transportation Services webpage at www.stthomas.edu/parking/ to learn how to buy passes and how much they cost.
Remember that you are required by law to wear a seatbelt while driving or riding in a car.
How to get a MN Driver's License
If you have a Social Security Number already, you need to bring that and your passport to the Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) office when you go to take the driving test.
If you do not have a Social Security Number, you need to:
1. Request a transcript from the Registrars' Office (MHC 126)
2. Bring the sealed transcript to ISS
3. Have an ISS Advisor sign and add your birthdate to the transcript
4. Take the transcript and your passport to the DMV and take the driving test
For more information on MN Driver's License and tests, visit the MN Driver and Vehicle Services webpage at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/dvs.
Buying and Renting a Car
When buying a new car, look at several different cars and talk with many dealers to find the best buy. All cars have a price affixed to the window called the "sticker price," but this is rarely the price that is paid. The final price is usually negotiable. You can generally pay less. When buying a used car, car dealers can also sell used cars, as do private individuals. Again, the price is generally negotiable. You can find used cars for sale in internet or the classified ads of newspapers under "Autos For Sale." Beware: buying an inexpensive old car or one in poor condition may actually be cost you more money because repairs can be very expensive.
All vehicles (cars, trucks, vans, etc.) must be registered with the State of Minnesota. There is a registration fee for this, and it varies depending on the type of vehicle you own and its age. You must register your car within 60 days of arriving in Minnesota, or, if you buy a car in Minnesota, it must be registered within 14 days. The only exception to this law is if you expect to stay in Minnesota for less than one year and have a valid driver's license issued to you from another state. When you register your car, you must provide proof that you have insurance.
The Minnesota No-Fault Act requires motor vehicle owners to maintain "no fault insurance." The law means that it's a crime for an owner to operate (or permit operation) of uninsured motorcycles or motor vehicles on public roads and highways. Violations may result in fines, imprisonment and/or revocation of driving privileges and license plates. The proof of insurance must be in the vehicle at all times and shown to a peace officer upon demand.
Visit the Minnesota Department of Commerce Website to find resources on purchasing automobile insurance in the state of Minnesota.
Before you buy, compare prices at different insurance companies. You can visit www.bankrate.com/brm/rate/insurance_home.asp to compare many companies at once. Some popular choices are Geico (www.geico.com), Progressive (www.progressive.com), and Allstate (www.allstate.com). You may also choose an independent insurance agent who can recommend the best offer for your situation.
Terms you should know about car insurance
Liability: This relates to how much your insurance will pay another person if you are at fault in an accident (that is, if you hit them). It covers damage to their vehicle as well as treatment for any injuries. The numbers a company will quote you will be something like 100/300, meaning in case of an accident, your insurance company will pay a maximum of $100,000 for car damage or injury per person for people injured in the other car with a maximum of $300,000 for three people. If there were more people in the other vehicle, the $300,000 will be split among them.
Collision: This category covers damage to your vehicle if you are at fault in an accident. This covers running your car into another car, a tree, etc.
Deductible: Collision comes with a deductible which you specify. If you have a deductible of $500, for example, you pay the first $500 toward repairs of your vehicle in case of an accident. The higher your deductible, the cheaper your insurance rates will be. The insurance broker will use the phrase "500 collision" or "collision at 500" when determining your deductible.
Involved in an accident
A driver involved in any accident should seek advice at once. At the time of the accident someone should be asked to telephone for police assistance. The police will arrange for tow trucks and ambulance if they are needed. Be sure to write down the name, address, phone number, car license plate number, and automobile insurance company of any other persons/cars involved in the accident. At the very least, the police will require that you fill out a written report within five days following the accident. Do not leave the scene of an accident until told to do so by the police. Notify your insurance company immediately.
"Reprinted [or adapted] with permission from NAFSA's International Student Handbook (AT&T, 1996). Copyright 1996 NAFSA: Association of International Educators."
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