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Inside Beat

Rutgers' buses can be rough, here's some basic bus-riding etiquette

 – Photo by The Daily Targum

The infamy surrounding the Rutgers buses is integral to the culture of our campus. Students often bond over the grievances they share when it comes to this mode of transportation. They get us where we need to go most days, but can be somewhat notorious for their efficiency, or lack thereof. 

The dreaded LX bus at rush hour is never pleasant to hop on. If you don’t stand behind the white line while the bus is in motion, you’re in for a bumpy and wild ride. Snow days are the absolute worst, particularly if you’re commuting between campuses in New Brunswick and Piscataway. Here are some do’s and don’ts when we’re dealing with the Rutgers bus system.

Have Patience

It can be frustrating for some students — especially if they’re in a rush to get to a class or an exam — when a driver takes a break at a student center. Be patient and mindful of the fact that everyone needs and deserves a break from work. 

From my personal experience, the breaks that bus drivers take on active routes never last more than 10 to 15 minutes. Plan your journey ahead of time if you know that there’s a chance that the bus may take a long break at stops like the student centers on Busch campus, the College Avenue campus, Livingston campus and Red Oak Lane on Douglass campus.

Respect Public Spaces

Don’t smoke or juul on the bus, and be considerate of the people in your immediate surroundings. Wait until you’re in an open space if you enjoy smoking. It’s incredibly suffocating and unpleasant to passively smoke, especially if you’re on the kind of bus where you’ve got no personal space. 

If you’re listening to music on your headphones, keep the volume to a reasonable level so as not to bother your fellow passengers if they’re studying. If you are studying on the bus, I’d advise you not pull out your laptop unless you’re desperately chasing a deadline. 

The buses are moving vehicles at the end of the day, and can get chaotic if there are too many people on board. 

This is a given for most people, but take a shower every day. Don’t forget to have some deodorant handy if you’re heading back from a productive, sweaty workout session at a recreation center. The buses likely have the heating on at this time of year, which only exacerbates any body odors.

Look Before You Sit

You might see some students oddly patting down their seats before they sit. This is to check for an unfortunately frequent circumstance on the bus popularly known as “bus juice.”  Bus juice is essentially leakage from the bus’ ventilation system and can be irksome to discover if you make contact with a damp seat. 

Hold On Tight

The poles and handholds on the bus can be difficult to get a hold of if it’s busy, but try to get a hold of something (not someone) to stabilize yourself during sharp turns on certain bus routes. A wikiHow article titled “How to Remain Standing While Riding a Bus” suggests keeping your legs active and bending your knees slightly. 

It also discusses keeping distractions like an immersive book, podcast or television show to a minimum, as they can impair your awareness of the bus ride and other passengers.

The Art of Conversation

If you’re with friends on a bus, try your best to sit or stand together so that you’re not talking across other people. It can be intimidating to talk to strangers on the bus, but extremely rewarding if done so in an organic manner. 

This past Halloweekend, my friends and I had some lovely conversations with a group of girls who were ironically dressed as the Rutgers buses. 

Express Gratitude

A basic of general etiquette is saying “thank you.” The men and women who operate the buses are hard-working people and have to deal with their fair share of strange college students. 

If you’ve ever been on a bus commuting to and from College Avenue late at night on the weekends, it’s likely that you’ve been cramped in with loud, inebriated students who’ve partied and smell like R U Hungry and perspiration. 

When you’re getting off the bus and heading to the safety and warmth of your housing, a friendly smile and a “have a good night” can mean the world to a bus driver.

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