YC, my husband is a professional orchestra violinist, so I know most of the cello section. Many cellists take their instruments on public transit. I know one who bikes with hers, although I'm not so sure that's a good idea. These are professionals whose instruments represent not only their art, but their mortgage and groceries, too. If you have a hard case, your instrument will be fine. Cases can get expensive, but they're a worthwhile investment.
Most city transit systems have friendly operators that you can phone. You tell them where you're leaving from, where you're going, and what time you need to be there, and they'll tell you exactly when and where to catch each bus. Or you can check here: http://www.beaumonttransit.com/default.asp.
If I can find the Beaumont bus schedules, I'm sure you can, too.
If you're not advancing as quickly as you think you should, ask your cello teacher about opportunities to compete in music festivals. Competing really advances your technique, you get to hear other musicians your own age perform, and the adjudication comments can be extremely helpful. Plus, if you win, there are often monetary prizes either in cash or scholarships.
You can also approach other musicians and set up your own chamber music group. It could be that they're as frustrated as you, and would welcome the chance to read string quartets with you, for example. When you're good enough to perform publicly you could hire yourselves out for weddings and the like. Leonard Bernstein paid for his piano lessons from the money he earned playing weddings and bar mitzvahs.
<small>[ 05-11-2005, 11:45 AM: Message edited by: Angie ]</small>