It’s hard to believe, but people ride bikes year-round in Fairbanks. The UAF Green Bikes program, through the Office of Sustainability, is a student-funded organization that offers long term bike rentals and mechanical help for cyclists across the campus. Fat bikes are now available for use during the winter. These bikes have sturdier frames and heavier tires to facilitate riding in the winter.
FAIRBANKS NORTH STAR BOROUGH MACS – PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
The Fairbanks North Star Borough operates a metropolitan area commuter system, with a scheduled bus stop near the Wood Center and co-located with the UAF Shuttle stop. The bus routes operate Monday through Saturday beginning between 6:00 and 7:00 in the morning. Depending on the day and route, the final buses leave the UAF Wood Center between 7:00 and 8:45 in the evening weekdays. Bus schedules and route maps may be viewed at www.fnsb.us/macs. Courtesy card holders may not be eligible for free fare. The regular adult fare is $1.50.
We have put together a handy guide for places you can go on the bus and estimated travel times. Click here to download the document.
Given the limitations of public transportation in Fairbanks the surrounding communities, the purchase of a car can be a worthwhile investment. However, a car also requires a significant financial commitment. Therefore, it is very important that you exercise great care when making your purchase of a new or used car. We strongly advise that you have a car inspected by a qualified mechanic not affiliated with the dealership or current owner before buying it, and that you purchase a car with a warranty, if buying from a dealership.
There is a lot to know about having a car in Alaska – registration, inspection, insurance, winterization, accidents, etc. Deciding whether to buy a car in Alaska can be difficult. Here are some pros and cons to car buying:
- Ability to get around when public transportation is unavailable
- You aren’t waiting for the bus in extremely cold temperatures.
- More flexibility in your travel times.
- Cars must be winterized be plugged in in the winter so the engines don’t freeze.
- Gas and insurance can be expensive.
- Selling your car may be a hassle at the end of your stay.
Before driving a vehicle in the U.S., you must have a valid drivers’ license or a learners’ permit. The learners permit is only valid if you have someone in the vehicle with you who possesses a valid drivers’ license. See Driver’s License and ID card for information about obtaining an Alaska driver’s license.
Under Alaska State Statutes, you are required to:
- Have liability insurance and carry proof of insurance in the car or on your cellular telephone. Check with your insurance company regarding minimum liability coverage required by Alaska State Law.
- Have the vehicle legally registered and carry current registration in the car.
- Wear a seatbelt and have all passengers wear seatbelts. Any small children or infants must ride in a child safety seat approved for their size, preferably in the back seat of the car. Never let a child ride in a front seat that has an airbag. Be sure the child safety seat is properly buckled into the vehicle. For more information please go here.
- Observe parking regulations. Never park in a handicap spot unless you have a handicap sticker.
- Emergency vehicles such as police vehicles, fire department vehicles and ambulances display red and blue emergency lights when responding to a call. If you observe emergency lights or hear sirens from emergency vehicle pull over to the far right side of the roadway and wait until the emergency vehicles have safely passed. If you are pulled over by police for some reason follow the same procedure. The police vehicle will stop behind you. Remain in your vehicle and the police officer will contact you at your vehicle.
Check out the car carefully and be sure it is in good condition and has the features you want. If it is a used car, question the owner about the condition of the car and be certain the Seller is the owner of the car (check the Seller’s driver’s license to see if it has the same name as the Certificate of Title). Take a test drive and, if you have any concerns, have an expert mechanic check the car for you. If the Seller is selling the car “as is,” then you bear the burden of determining whether the car is in good condition.
Before buying a used car, you should be sure you are paying a fair price. The Kelley Blue Book and various internet sites can be helpful in learning the value of a car.
This is a website dedicated to providing you with information on specific cars. The information system on a website can help you determine if the car has suffered any damage, abuse, etc. When actually purchasing the car, you should be aware that car sales people can be extremely aggressive. If the salesperson’s approach makes you feel uncomfortable, you should not hesitate to simply express your lack of interest and walk away. Bringing a friend along can be very helpful in this kind of situation.
Finally, since there are many used car dealerships in the Fairbanks area, it is wise to note price comparisons before making a decision whether to buy a car at a particular dealership. Also, remember that the sticker (or marked) price of a car is not final. Bargaining with a salesperson about a car’s sticker price might save you money.
This is a well-respected website dedicated to providing the fair prices for new and used cars.
On-Campus Bulletin Boards:
There are various bulletin boards located in buildings around campus. Check your building for vehicles that are for sale.
Fairbanks Daily News Miner classified ads list used cars for sale.
If you are buying a new car, shop around and negotiate with the dealer for a price lower than the “sticker price.” There is flexibility in the price the dealer first proposes.
If you are financing the purchase of your car, be sure you understand the terms and know you can afford the monthly payments. Before you start shopping for a car, review your budget and check out car loans at local banks and credit unions. The rates vary and you want to get the best deal you can – which may not be from the dealer. If you are buying the car from a dealer, you may have to return the car if the dealer cannot arrange financing for you and you cannot come up with the money on your own. It may be difficult to qualify for a loan if you do not have an established credit history in the U.S.
Always put the actual purchase price on the Bill of Sale. Sometimes people will put a lower price to try to reduce the amount of tax the Buyer pays, but this can lead to problems. You are responsible for submitting the registration paperwork to the DMV showing the change in owners. Information is available on the DMV website.
Be very careful to be accurate when you describe the car to potential buyers. If you misrepresent the condition of the car, you might be sued by the Buyer you misled. It is advisable to say you are selling the car “as is,” which places the burden on the Buyer to ascertain the actual condition of the car. Verify that the buyer of your car is submitting the registration to the DMV.
Automobile insurance is an often misunderstood insurance product. Since the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires liability insurance in order to register and operate a vehicle, it is of great importance to purchase and to fully understand your automobile insurance policy. Automobile insurance is simply a contract that helps pay for certain types of financial losses or obligations resulting from the use or ownership of an automobile. To obtain this contract (insurance policy), you pay a specified amount of money called a premium. In return for the premium paid, the insurance company agrees to pay certain expenses and legal liabilities depending on the terms of the insurance policy. Having the right insurance coverage may prevent you from suffering a large financial loss in the event of an automobile accident. However, remember that the deductible you choose is what you are responsible for paying up front in the event you file a claim against an automobile insurance policy
You must have minimum liability insurance for any motor vehicle you own or drive in Alaska. This means your insurance must include liability coverage of at least $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for bodily injury and $25,000 for property damage. This insurance is required for ALL motor vehicles, including cars, mopeds, motorcycles, and trucks. Mandatory insurance information is available on the DMV website.
Types of coverage:
When the car you are driving is in an accident for which you are found legally liable, bodily injury (BI) liability covers your liability to others for injuries to them. Property damage (PD) liability covers your liability for damage to someone else’s property.
Physical Damage (collision and comprehensive): Neither of these cover mechanical breakdown or normal wear and tear. Collision covers damage to your vehicle caused by collision with another vehicle or with any other object, regardless of fault. Collision insurance covers vehicle upset (overturn), but does not cover bodily injury or property damage liability. Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your car caused by reason other than collision, such as fire, theft, windstorm, flood, vandalism, etc.
The most common way drivers choose to comply with the financial responsibility when driving a vehicle is by purchasing an automobile liability insurance policy. If you have an accident not covered by insurance, then your license may be suspended. It is your responsibility to provide liability insurance for any vehicle you own regardless of who is operating the vehicle. It is illegal for those vehicles to be operated without meeting the requirements of this law.
Additional coverage, not required by state statute, but advisable to have may include
Comprehensive insurance: Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car that is not caused by a collision, such as vandalism, fire, theft, falling objects, and glass breakage. Like collision insurance, you will have a deductible with comprehensive coverage. It also generally does not cover rental car costs and is likely to be required if you have a car loan.
Rental car coverage: Rental car coverage pays for you to rent a car while your damaged car is being repaired. There is a limit on the daily rental amount covered, as well as a per accident limit. Most collision and comprehensive insurance policies do not include rental car coverage. Thus, you will have to pay for that coverage separately. It typically is not very expensive, however, so it is a good option to consider.
Towing/Emergency Road Service coverage: Insurance policies vary regarding how towing and other emergency road services are handled. Some policies include towing in collision and comprehensive coverage. Others require you to purchase this type of coverage separately. Ask your insurance company whether it is included elsewhere in your policy. This is typically very inexpensive but can be very important if you have an accident or mechanical difficulties far from home.
An insurance card must be carried in the vehicle at all times. Prices for car insurance very from company to company. Find out the minimum amount of car insurance you must carry. Obtain car insurance quotes from at least three insurers before you make a decision. But don’t shop on price alone, look at the company’s reputation, customer service and the type of coverage and discounts it offers. Many offer “Good Student” discounts if you have at least a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).
Note: Automobile insurance is state specific meaning that policies vary widely state-to-state.
An automobile accident can be a frightening and upsetting experience. Nevertheless, there are certain steps that you should take to comply with the law and preserve your legal rights.
First, Alaska law requires you to stop and exchange information with the other people involved in the accident. You should obtain the following information for everyone involved in the accident: name, address, telephone number, driver's license number, vehicle license number, and insurance information. Try to learn as much as possible about the other driver's insurance, including the name of the company, the policy number, the extent of coverage, and the name of the agent.
Get the name, address, and telephone number of all people who witnessed the accident. You probably will want to contact them later if there is a dispute as to how the accident happened.
You should make an initial assessment of any personal injuries and property damage resulting from the accident while you are still at the scene. Make a written record of these observations. You also should take photos of the damage to all of the involved vehicles with your cell phone or camera.
Above all, try to remain calm. It generally is advisable not to discuss liability at the scene of the accident, even though it may be tempting to do so in the heat of the moment. Because the issue of liability can be complicated, you should discuss the accident with an attorney before you admit it was your fault.
You should contact law enforcement authorities by calling 911. The appropriate law enforcement officer will respond depending on the location of the accident. You will be required to document proof of insurance either at that time or by mail later. Failure to have proof of insurance coverage can lead to the loss of your drivers license.
If you plan to make a claim with your insurance company, you should contact your agent as soon as possible. You also should obtain two or three written estimates for the repair of any damage to your vehicle.
If you are injured, you should seek medical attention immediately. Keep the receipts for all medical treatment, including medications, and maintain a record of all losses you sustain as a result of your
- Always lock your car door, including while driving.
- If you are driving after dark, park your vehicle where there is light so that you may walk where there is light.
- If you think someone may be following you, drive to where there are lots of lights and people, such as grocery stores, gas stations, or a police station.
- Before you get into the vehicle, make sure that no one has gotten into the back seat while your car was parked.
- Remove ALL snow and ice from your vehicle before driving it, to include all windows, windshields, head lights and tail light areas.
- Winter tires for your vehicle are strongly recommended to provide better control on icy roadways.
- Always drive with the vehicle head lights on.
- Make sure your vehicle is properly winterized if driving in the winter. You may want to use 5W30 oil, adjust your coolant, use studded snow tires (legal only in winter), and have an engine-block heater, an oil-pan heater, and a battery blanket. Consult an auto repair shop.
- Learn how to drive safely on icy and snowy roads: drive more slowly than you would on dry roads, leave plenty of space from the vehicle in front of you, and approach intersections slowly; if the road is slick, you cannot stop easily.
- Always use the two-second rule: when stopped at an intersection on a red traffic light, take two seconds after the light turns green to look both ways before proceeding. Sometimes in Fairbanks drivers will go through red lights because the roads are so slick they cannot stop.
- Keep emergency equipment in the car, especially in the winter. Keep a flashlight, scraper/snow brush, snow shovel, tow strap, jumper cables, cat litter or sand for traction, extra gloves, and extra warm clothes.
- Drive with your head lights on at all times.
- Learn how to change a tire and carry the tools to do so.
- If your vehicle gets stuck, breaks down, or is involved in an accident, turn on the emergency flashing lights if possible.
- If you get in an accident, call 911 for police and, unless you are injured, stay at the scene of the accident until the police finish their report. Be sure to get insurance information from the other driver(s) involved.
- Consider buying emergency road service insurance to cover potential towing costs.
- Drivers involved in a motor vehicle accident are required to exchange information including but not limited to name, driver license number, phone number, vehicle information including license plate and insurance information.
Alaska State Statues requires people using rental vehicles to have liability coverage. Insurance that you have purchased to cover vehicle(s) you own will generally extend to rental vehicles. Note: If you do not have collision coverage on your personally owned vehicle and you are involved in an accident while driving a rental vehicle, you may be responsible for paying to have the rental vehicle repaired. You should verify what your insurance company will provide for rental vehicles before you rent the vehicle. Remember, under Alaska law, you are required to have liability insurance for any car you drive.
When renting a vehicle, the automobile rental companies hold the renter responsible under the rental agreement for damage to their vehicle. They normally offer a Damage Waiver at an additional cost. This is not insurance, but a contractual agreement between the renter and rental company. Therefore, if a waiver is not purchased, review your own automobile policy to determine if any extension of coverage. Verify with your credit card company first because most offer FREE insurance on rental cars if you pay with their card but you must decline the rental company's coverage for it to work. Also, if you already have car insurance, rentals may already be covered under your policy so make sure to check your policy first.
Authorized drivers: Only drivers listed on the rental agreement are authorized to drive the rental vehicle. Persons included on the rental agreement are responsible for any damage to the vehicle.