Students on people mover at Detroit airport


Getting to and from Grinnell

Grinnell College provides shuttle service for students from the Des Moines International Airport at the beginning and end of each academic year and school breaks. The registration links below for each shuttle include dates, times, and pricing information. Shuttle service is coordinated by our Facilities Management Office. Contact that office with questions at 641-269-3300.

August 2019 Return-to-Campus Shuttles

2019-20 Academic Year Student Shuttles: Des Moines and Chicago

Grinnell College provides shuttle service from Chicago (Union Station) and Lisle, IL at school breaks. The registration links below for each shuttle include dates, times, and pricing information. Shuttle service is coordinated by our Facilities Management Office. Contact that office with questions, 641-269-3300.

2019-20 Academic Year Student Shuttles: Des Moines and Chicago


Taxi Service

There are taxicab companies that will come to pick you up from or take you to the Des Moines Airport for approximately $125.

Des Moines-based services:

  • Alpha Taxi 515-280-1813
  • Airport Limo 877-APTLIMO or 877-278-5466
  • Capitol Cab Company 515-282-8111
  • Gene's Transportation & Deliver 515-249-1127
  • Yellow Cab Company 515-243-1111

Grinnell-based services:

  • Grinnell Errand Service 641-990-4713 — Operated by Tom Cooper

To rent a car from Enterprise, you must:

  • be 21 years of age or older,
  • have a valid driver's license, and
  • have a major credit card.

For your convenience, an Enterprise office is located in both the Des Moines International Airport and Eastern Iowa Airport. Once you arrive in Grinnell, a simple phone call will notify Enterprise that the car is ready to be picked up at a location in Grinnell.

This also works for a trip to the airport; Enterprise will deliver a car to Grinnell, and it can be returned to the airport car rental area. You can call 641-752-1000 or 800-257-1136 to have a car delivered to Grinnell for your trip to the airport.

Faculty and staff wishing to rent a vehicle for College purposes should refer to the Grinnell College Policy For Enterprise Rent-A-Car Transportation and review the “Grinnell College Car Pool: Faculty and Staff Requests” section below.

Zipcar provides students and local community residents with the ability to travel without needing to own a car. 

The self-service transportation option is available:

  • 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • for students, faculty, and staff ages 18 and older
  • for members of the local community ages 21 and older

Zipcars can be reserved for an hour or multiple days. The two Zipcars have designated parking spots close to campus in the Great Western Bank parking lot along Sixth Avenue near Broad Street. More information on how Zipcar works in Grinnell and how to become a member of Zipcar is available on the Zipcar website

Burlington Trailways

Burlington Trailways Bus Service provides regular route service between Omaha, NE and Chicago, IL. This route has a pick-up and drop-off location at Grinnell College in front of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center. To search schedules and purchase a ticket, please visit the Trailways website or call 1-800-992-4618 option 2.

Grinnell College Car Pool

If you are requesting support from Careers, Life, and Service (CLS), your request must go through the CLS approval process before you submit it to  FM.

Authorized Use

College-related reasons to request a car during the semester include:

  • college-related appointments
  • internships
  • GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc. 
  • job or graduate school interviews
  • medical appointments
  • student organizations that are traveling for College-related activities — such as conference, meets, tournaments, etc., (not personal use) — and have been sponsored and funded by the Student Government Association.
  • family emergencies


  • You may reserve a car and driver to travel to Iowa airports only, not airports in other states.
  • International students may reserve a car and driver to pick up or return family from Iowa airports. Domestic students may not.

Prohibited Use

You are not permitted to use of car pool transportation for:

  • transportation of friends or family
  • non-College-related events
  • personal use or enjoyment
  • transportation to or from airports outside the state of Iowa
  • transportation to or from the Des Moines Airport when Des Moines bus shuttles are available.

    Authorized Requests

    If you are a faculty or staff member, you can request a vehicle to conduct College business.

    • You must have valid US driver’s license.
    • You must present your driver’s license when picking up the College vehicle.
    • You are responsible for signing for and picking up the vehicle that has been reserved in your name.
    • You must submit a request for each vehicle and driver if need more than one vehicle.

    Non-Authorized Requests

    Requests for a car pool car or driver are not authorized in the following situations:

    • for transportation of faculty or staff to an airport. Faculty and staff must request an Enterprise vehicle for this purpose.
    • for transportation to airports that are not in Iowa
    • for more than 2 vehicles for the same trip at the same date and time

    Pickup and Delivery

    Pick up and deliver carpool vehicles at the Safety Office, 1432 East St.

    Vehicles may not be parked or left unattended at an employee’s home for any length of time.

    Request a car pool vehicle for authorized use only. See “Student Requests” or “Faculty and Staff Requests” for details.


    Request a car pool vehicle for an airport trip or a a non-airport trip.

    Only Grinnell College-certified student drivers, faculty, and staff are permitted to drive car pool vehicles. You can request a certified driver, if needed, when you request a vehicle.


    Cancel any requests through FM. If you have requested a driver, cancel at least two hours in advance of the driver departing the safety office or you will incur a two-hour minimum driver charge


    Billing rates are as follows:

    • Vehicle: $0.40 to $0.50 per mile depending on what is needed and available
    • Driver: $16.00/hour, with a minimum 2 hour charge

    FM bills only to the following:

    • a department sponsoring the event under budget code
    • SGA budget code
    • the student requesting the authorized service (billed to student account)

    Combining Requests

    If two or more requests for travel are submitted that could be combined, the cost may be shared down to a  minimum cost of $30 per request.

    For example, if a group of three students requested travel to an Iowa airport, the cost might be $100. If a group of 2 students requests travel to the same airport at a similar time, they may be assigned to the same vehicle and driver. Each group would be charged $50.

    All vehicles are covered with collision and liability insurance. A fleet insurance card is located in the glove compartment of each car pool vehicle. The card should be presented as evidence of insurance when necessary. Do not remove the card from the vehicle.

      Drivers — faculty, staff, or certified students — must:

      • Strictly follow all College rules and state laws relating to driving any vehicle on public roads.
      • Agree that driving a Grinnell College vehicle is a privilege that can be revoked at any time.
      • Enforce the rule that seat belts will be worn by the driver and all passengers at all times.
      • Abstain from intake of any alcoholic beverage or illegal drugs while driving and at least 8 hours prior to driving a College vehicle.
      • Enforce the rule that no alcoholic beverage will be consumed in Grinnell College vehicles by any passenger.
      • Pick up the vehicle no more than 15 minutes before the scheduled beginning of the trip.
      • Return the vehicle to the Security parking lot immediately following the trip and by the scheduled return time (safety permitting). Notify Facilities Management if you will be late.
      • Return the vehicle cleaned of all trash. A trash receptacle is located in the Security parking lot.
      • Return the vehicle with a full tank of gas. There is a WEX fuel card in the key wallet, to be used at any fuel station.
      • Return credit cards and vehicle keys to Security office and record the beginning and ending mileage.
      • Be responsible for and immediately pay all parking tickets, traffic violations, and fines.
      • Immediately report any accident to Facilities Management.
      • Carry your driver's license whenever operating a College vehicle.

      In and Around Grinnell

      The People Rides Bus Service will continue this year. They will pick up in front of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center every week Monday through Friday. The cost is $3 for a round-trip ticket. The bus will also stop in downtown Grinnell.

      Tickets to ride the bus can be purchased at the Spencer Grill and Campus Safety.

      People Rides Bus Service schedule is:

      Tuesday and Thursday
      Grinnell College only noon pickup at Rosenfield Center, return from Walmart 1:30 p.m.
      Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
      Grinnell College pickup at 11 a.m. at Rosenfield Center, return 12:15 p.m.

      Student Health and Wellness (SHAW) offers free transportation to your local medical/mental health appointments and to local pharmacies. You may call or stop in to schedule a ride. When your appointment is done, you may call SHAW to be picked up and returned to campus.

      An accessible van is available if your mobility is limited. You will need to call and pre-schedule your transportation 24 hours in advance of your in-town appointment.

      Free transportation is not provided to appointments outside Grinnell. However, you may schedule a ride through Facilities Management. The cost is roughly $150 to Des Moines or Iowa City.

      People Rides is another option for transportation that requires a small fee. Please see the People Rides section above or visit their Region 6 Planning Commission website.

      Prescription Pick-Up

      There are three pharmacies in Grinnell: Hy-Vee, Medicap, and Walmart.

      Student Health and Wellness (SHAW) can give you a ride to and from your pharmacy.

      Medicap and Hy-Vee will deliver your prescriptions to SHAW upon request. The first time you pick up a prescription, you will need to visit the pharmacy to put a form of payment on file. Please note that Walmart does not deliver. It is important that you call for your refill a few days before your current prescription runs out.

      • Hy-Vee pharmacy: 641-236-4287
      • Medicap pharmacy: 641-236-3663
      • Walmart pharmacy: 641-236-6333

      After Hours

      If it is after hours and you need a ride to or from a medical appointment or pharmacy in town, you may call Campus Safety at 641-269-4600.

      The Grinnell College Escort Service (Safe Rides) will escort you anywhere within the Campus Safety patrol area or to authorized locations within the city of Grinnell. Staff members with the Department of Campus Safety will walk or drive you to and from your destination. The escorts carry two-way radios providing direct communication with the Communication Center.

      Call the Grinnell College Department of Campus Safety at extension 4600 (on-campus) or at (641) 269-4600 (off-campus) to request a safety escort. 

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