The Southern Railway Company built this station in 1950. They stopped serving the Raleigh area in 1964. Passenger service returned to this old station 20 years later when Amtrak moved from the Old Raleigh Seaboard Station. This station accommodates 6 passenger trains daily- the north and south bound Carolinian, Piedmont and Silver Star.
On my return to Raleigh from South America and Miami (2 January 2002), I had planned on taking a taxi from the airport to the Greyhound bus station at 820 Morgan Street in Durham to get there by 2.00, because when I bought my ticket in Richmond, the agent there said I needed to check in an hour before scheduled departure. I still had plenty of time and I thought it would be better to be way too early than a little too late. I stopped at the information desk to find out if there was a cheaper mode of transport as it never hurts to ask. It turns out the Airport Express vans would take you one way for just $20 (half of what I would have paid for a cab). The driver was a middle-aged conservative man with a Southern accent. Believe it or not, that is rather an oddity in that part of North Carolina which seems to be invaded by Yankees- like much of south Florida. It only took a few minutes to get from the airport to the bus station in downtown Durham.
Raleigh-Durham Airport serves central and eastern North Carolina and Virginia's southern tier. RDU was also the airport from where my first flight took off on 16 August 1985.
My most recent adventures at RDU went like this: After all that hoo-hah at security, I went to the Cyber Cafe and got some danish and water. 15 minutes of internet access came with each purchase. I had a bunch of e-mail waiting for me. On arriving to gate 14, I met a couple of nice ladies named Linda and Louise. They targeted my flight, American 1799, for stand-by because the overzealous security guards made them miss their original flight. It's high time somebody hold these security guards accountable even though they mean well. Because of the lockers were closed by the FAA, I was either going to have the strongest shoulders in Dixie before 18 December 2001 was out or I was flat going to give out. Linda and Louise were on this flight on standby.
Because it was overbooked to start with, I wasn't at all sure they would make this flight either. They boarded those with young'uns, old folks, and crippled people first, followed by first class, and common folk who were able-bodied and unencumbered bringing up the rear. I walked down the jetway at 1.29. I settled down in the 25-B, an aisle seat like usual. For those of y'all who are wondering, my black carry-on bag DID fit into the overhead bin even though it didn't fit into the sizer and despite the fact I had to help it through the machine. For the longest time, Linda and Louise hadn't boarded at it looked very much like they wouldn't be able to. I was afraid they wouldn't make their flight and thus miss their connection to San Juan. Finally, I saw Linda board followed closely by Louise who seemed to have her hat down over her eyes. We pushed back from gate C-14 and took off at 2 pm spot on.
The trip back to Raleigh is only noteworthy because of the sharp difference in temperature. It was 74° (23°C) in Miami, but it was below freezing on landing in Raleigh-Durham.
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TTA: Triangle Transit Authority
The Triangle Transit Authority drives routes throughout the triangle, including to the three major universities: North Carolina State University in Raleigh, Duke University in Durham, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Riding is free for NCSU students with ID (not sure about the other two universities) and free for those under 10. Normal fare is $2 and $1 for those over 65. Check the website for latest fares and schedules.
This is an especially great service if you need to travel during rush hour, especially on the interstate. Driving on I-40 between 8 and 9 in the morning and 5 and 6:30 in the evening is a nightmare, so the bus will save you lots of gas and headaches.
- Arts and Culture
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CAT: Capital Area Transit
A great and cheap way to get around Raleigh. It's free for NCSU students who have their ID. An especially great way for freshmen on campus to get to the mall, etc. if they don't have access to a car.
$1 for one trip, but if you travel often, a month, week, day, or 11 ride pass might be a good option.
You can also put your bike on the bus if you don't want to walk to and from the stops. Check the website for the latest fares and schedules.
- Study Abroad
Wolfline: the NCSU bus
Now open to the public, the Wolfline (we are the wolfpack at NC State) is the University's bus. It drives around the large campus and to nearby apartment complexes. A great way to get to school without having to pay for parking. Not only are spaces hard to get, but they must be up to $300 dollars a year by now... not exactly in a student's budget.
Check out the website for the most up-to-date schedule, as the buses change to adapt to students' needs. And of course, it's free for students. (although I don't remember ever having to show my ID - so it's probably also free for those who look like college students)
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Capital Area Transit (CAT)
CAT buses can be seen all over Raleigh. The service is mostly reliable once you get used to what time the bus will show up (mine is about 10 minutes later than the posted schedule, but it's everyday so at least it's constant). The map and schedule can be found on the web site, as well as detour updates. As of 6/10/08, fare is $1, but the website lists other options (full day pass, 31-day pass, 11-day pass, senior pass). It is free to NCSU students with a Student ID. The CAT can get you most anywhere in the city, and while the best coverage is inside the beltline, routes extend north of 540 and as far south as the Northern tip of Garner.
- Study Abroad
You can always drive but as I...
You can always drive but as I warned, driving in Raleigh can definitely be a pain. But no worries, RDU airport is right there on the border of Raleigh and Durham. This is a pretty large airport that travels to just about everywhere in the country by some route or another so you should be able to get here just fine.
If you have a friend who lives here or knows Raleigh really well, I suggest you ask them. Otherwise, you will just have to drive. Raleigh is pretty spread out and if you are staying in North Raleigh unfortumately most of the attractions are downtown (museums, bars and such), and West Raleigh (most of the colleges are here plus the really nice Entertainment and Sports arena). Grab a taxi if you can afford it.
Transportation from Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU)
Unless you are renting a car at RDU for travel locally or long-distance (to the coast or other cities in the state) your options are limited to taxis (where the final cost is a guessing-game), the Super Shuttle (only to points in the Triangle - inexpensive but you will have no idea how many stops the shuttle will make before you arrive at your destination), or some of the 'National' black towncar networks (expensive). I would suggest you visit the RDU airport's website and go to the 'ground transportation' tab. It lists only those firms who are allowed to operate with the airport authority's permission. Call a couple in advance and if a professional (aka 'live person') answers the phone and can give you exact pricing after determining your needs you will probably be in good hands. Better yet, look at the website of the firm and check their reviews on Google.
- Family Travel
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Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
Easy to navigate around... Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is located in the heart of the Research Triangle Region: 10 miles southeast of Durham; 10 miles northwest of Raleigh
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