How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love (well, tolerate anyway) the Buscsudhbulletin November 8, 2019 0 COMMENTS
Robert Rios Bulletin
By Robert Rios
I ride the bus to school every day. I am a 22-year-old grown-ass man, three semesters away from earning my bachelor’s degree. And I ride the bus to school every day.
And before you chime in, let me just say: I’ve heard it all before. “What, you mean the short bus?” “You get a DUI?” “Wow, your life really sucks.”
Sure, I’d rather not spend two hours in a mobile orange box riding through nine cities just to get to campus. But my living arrangement—four grown people with two cars between them–makes getting to work to pay rent more important than me getting to school to learn the skills so I’ll never have to ride the bus again.
Yes, riding the bus can be overwhelming at first, since the only thing predictable about Los Angeles-area buses is their unpredictability. Buses run late. They break down. And you never quite know who your fellow bus riders will be, or what planet they think they’re on.
But there are perks. I’m a whiz at navigating the freeways, well, the ones between El Monte and Carson, at any rate. And every one of those unpredictable things I mentioned? They’ve also forced me to think on my feet, to trust my instincts, to go with the flow, and to keep calm and carry on.
But my favorite thing about taking the bus is not having to deal with parking. Not just the aggravation of waiting for a miracle parking spot to open but the expense. Instead of paying $155 this semester (hey freshmen: in two years it’s going to be $200!) I can buy a monthly student Metro pass for $22 if I buy it at school. Add the money for the pass and the gas, and I can afford a couple more textbooks that probably aren’t necessary.
It’s also forced me to plan. As a fellow bus commuter, Mahed Hassdn, a transfer student studying microbiology, says:
“You need to be efficient on how to pay for the bus and I feel the school and transportation could be better. Another thing is untimeliness; you have to plan ahead of time to catch the bus. For me, I have class at 12 so I get on at 10.”
Add up the time I spend either waiting or on the bus and it comes to about 16 hours a week. That’s a lot of time, but I’m also able to read, study and observe an endless variety of people. I have seen so many different incidents that I do not know where to begin. I have seen people pass out due to the heat, an old man swing his cane at a baby, and some guy took out a knife because a homeless dude was staring at him.
But I’ve also seen people help out those who don’t have the exact fare or give up their seat to someone who obviously needs it more than they do and other little acts of kindness that I would never have seen on the freeway.
And I think I’ve learned something about myself and other students who have to ride the bus: we want an education so badly that we persist to the best of our ability and charge on. And that’s what I’d like to tell anyone who thinks that the time riding the bus and the aggravation works against getting an education. I’d argue that it has taught me many things, like patience, dedication and humility.
It’s also taught me that the bus waits for no one. Even at 8 p.m, when the driver slams the door in your face for no reason and drives away leaving you on some random street in Bellflower. Yes, I did have a mental break down that night. Did I mention it was Bellflower?