I started a new job at the beginning of August. (A big girl job, as I’ve been calling it.) Along with the office, coworkers, and regular work hours, I have also become a bus commuter.
The university where I work subsidizes the cost of the bus pass to an incredible $25 a year, so it seemed ridiculously expensive by comparison to pay to park and for gas–even in my reasonably efficient Civic Hybrid. Plus, my bus commute takes about 50 minutes, roughly the same time it would take for me to drive 25 minutes, park, and then walk 15-20 minutes to my building. Finally, I commuted to a nannying job every day this summer, and while it was crucial for me to have my car to drive my charges around, toward the end of three months of daily commuting, every time I got in the car I felt (maybe irrationally) like I was statistically due for a wreck. Adding all of this up made it an easy choice to take the bus, but logistically I still had some things to figure out.
In a way that is probably typical of someone raised in a Texas suburb, but nonetheless embarrassing and revealing of my privilege, I had basically no idea how to take a bus. Trains/subways in cities I’ve lived in or visited have not been a problem because they stop at every stop. Faced with needed to communicate with the bus driver that I needed to get off, though, I was at a loss. So I watched the online how-to-ride videos through the city’s transit website. I felt dumb, but the reason they have those videos is for people like me, who have never had to get on a bus. I mastered the commute in a day or two, and I’ve been happily riding ever since.
I listen to audiobooks and podcasts, while enjoying not having to pay attention to the road. I’ve definitely messed up the schedule and missed a couple of buses, but I find the whole process preferable to driving myself. Here’s to many more years as a bus rider!