Mosaic tries something new: riding the buses
Copy Desk Chief
If you have eyes, then you’ve probably noticed the new, undecorated, almost-entirely white buses that have been running on the North-South College Avenue route.
The university has boasted about these buses on its transportation services Twitter, @GetAroundUD, but the question remains: Are the buses all they’re cracked up to be?
On Wednesday, I took a chance, stepped onto one of these new buses and rode it from Student Health to the North Campus parking lot.
Even from the outside, what could have been an impressive bus was diminished by the lack of a functioning screen that normally displays the route. Instead, a piece of paper labeled “NORTH-SOUTH COLLEGE” was taped to the inside of the front windshield of the giant transportation tampon.
I sat in one of the seats closer to the entrance to the bus, and I promptly started to slide out of the seat. The seats closest to the entrance — two benches of three seats each — are upholstered with a smooth fabric and are high enough that only the balls of my feet touched the ground, and at five and a half feet, I’m not short. The aisle is also narrower in this section of the bus, and is vaguely reminiscent of a bottleneck or a haunting artist’s rendition of a cervix.
“You can’t outmaneuver God, you can’t outfox God,” played from where the bus driver sat, listening to an enthusiastic, evangelical sermon while he drove.
The remainder of the bus was one giant aisle, flanked by seats. No longer are there pairs of seats that allow for you to stare out the window like a melancholy poet. Now, you must make yourself comfortable between two neighbors and avoid awkward eye contact with the passenger facing you on the other side of the aisle.
I twisted in my seat and tried to get comfortable while also staying on it, which involved holding on to the metal handrail usually reserved for standing passengers. No matter which position I tried to sit in, I couldn’t get comfortable in the seat.
The handrails, by the way, are not particularly accessible for the passengers they’re meant to serve. The handrails are situated above the heads of seated passengers, forcing those standing to get up close and personal with their fellow bus riders. Ever wanted a facefull of someone’s stomach as they try not to fall on you? The new buses offer you the chance.
Then, the bus made its stop outside Gore — the “Smith NB” stop — and took on more passengers. The bus filled up quickly, and soon, I, too, had a neighbor. Thankfully, because I had chosen an end seat, I only had one neighbor and could pretend that I had some semblance of personal space.
As I neared my stop and prepared to make my escape, I twisted back to find the stop-request rope. It was easily an arm’s length behind my head from the front seat, and I am grateful that someone with easier access was also getting off because they did me the favor of pulling it.
As I disembarked from the sloped exit, I thought to myself that even though I have an injured foot, maybe walking isn’t so bad after all.