Your cell phone violently interrupts the pleasant, nearly unnoticeable sounds of morning. Suddenly, you don’t hear birds chirping or feel the warm rays of sun running across your unsuspecting face. All you hear is the nagging jack hammer that is your alarm. You look at your phone as it dances as if it were a freshly caught fish attempting to find its way back into the body of water it calls home. You grab the phone as it wriggles through your fingers and check the time.
The alarm has been going off for 15 minutes: not so alarming after all. After throwing on whatever clothes look the least foolish and going through an abridged morning schedule with machine-like efficiency, you make your way out the door.
Walking is too slow, and you find yourself going from brisk jog to a full sprint. You arrive at your regular bus stop only to be left in agony. You watch with wide eyes as your bus sputters away.
You missed the bus.
Students at GCC who take the bus have to deal with situations like this. They miss buses and are late for class, but through all of the inconveniences of relying on a bus, they manage to find positive aspects.
Away from the sea of cars that populates the campus parking lot and the lots adjacent to the school, one can find these students who wait at bus stops located near the school.
Students who take the bus to school get a social experience, save money, and endure struggles that differ from finding a premium parking spot.
Riding the bus can be like a love-hate relationship.
Student Casey Avina hates the bus.
“[Taking] the bus sucks,” Avina said.
Avina takes the bus whenever she has to go to or leave school, and in that sense she is a typical bus rider. To get from her home to GCC, Avina has to take three different buses.
She has had difficulties with riding the bus, such as losing patience and becoming frustrated when she misses the bus or when it comes late.
Avina is not the only student who has been inconvenienced by riding the bus. Many frequent bus riders have stories to tell about the hassles they have had.
Lance Cohill is another GCC student who has had trouble with the bus.
“I missed two classes last week because the bus just drove past me,” said Cohill.
Andrew Estrada also knows what it is like to miss classes because he was not able to get on his bus.
“One time it didn’t show up,” said Estrada.
Aside from buses occasionally passing by riders, those who ride the bus also have to wake up early and plan ahead of time.
Tuevo Bodtcher said that to catch his bus, “I wake up super early.” Bodtcher wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready for school.
No matter how students get to GCC, there are certain problems. When driving, the parking spots fill up fast. When riding a bicycle or similar transportation methods, there is an endurance factor.
Riding the bus has unique problems because if a rider misses the bus, the only way to alleviate the situation is to wait for the next bus.
Even though bus riders cope with certain difficulties there is a positive side to taking this form of transportation.
Students who take the bus save money.
“I probably save $100 to $200 a month,” said Bodtcher.
Riding the Metro costs $1.50, and the Beeline only costs a quarter. Full-time students can purchase Metro monthly bus passes for $36, and Beeline monthly passes are available for $12.
Joseph Siasat rides the Beeline to and from school. He said that he does not mind paying for it because it costs a quarter.
“I save a lot of money,” said Siasat.
Marcos Cuateco who rides the bus every Monday and Wednesday said that he saves “probably around $10 a week.”
Along with saving money, riding the bus is its own social experience.
“Some people might get the stigma that only poor people ride the bus, but people from all walks of life take the bus,” said Cuateco.
Cuateco said that people ride the bus for different reasons: some because they do not have a car, some have damaged vehicles, and others want to save money.
“You meet a lot of interesting people,” said Cuateco.
Bodtcher said that bus riders can meet people in a way they could not when driving in a car or while using any other form of transport. A bus is filled with strangers, and after taking the bus everyday at the same time it is natural to meet up with the same people.
Meeting people while riding the bus is a positive aspect of the experience, and riders are not opposed to it.
“It’s exciting because different things happen,” said Estrada.
Adding to the upside of riding the bus, riders do not have to deal with the stresses of driving. There is no road rage involved. The buses themselves run on natural gas, which is clean and more environmentally friendly than driving an automobile. Also, some buses come every 15 minutes, and both the Beeline and Metro have websites that provide bus schedules, allowing riders to plan their trips in advance.
If walking to the bus stop is takes too long, students can also ride their bicycles to the stop and then place it onto the bicycle rack that the buses offer.
Most students will never ride the bus to and from school, but despite a few pitfalls the bus is an overall positive experience for those who do ride it regularly. Students can actually benefit from riding the bus, while having a better time than they may have expected.
“It’s just you, your backpack, and a bus” said Bodtcher.