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Tips and tricks for navigating Rutgers' bus system

The buses can be difficult to navigate, but are an essential part of any Rutgers student’s experience. Following these tips will make your daily commutes much easier.  – Photo by Sakina Pervez

The bus system is a crucial and unavoidable part of being a student at Rutgers.

Anyone who has lived on a campus other than the College Avenue campus or has had to take classes on a campus different from the one they live on knows the struggle of catching the bus at just the right time and showing up to their destination punctually.

For optimal success and minor mishaps, follow these tips below to make the most out of your time on the Rutgers buses. (Trust me, you’ll be spending more time on them than you think).

Understanding the bus routes

If you feel any apprehension about knowing which bus will take you where, don’t worry — the entire population of new Rutgers students will be navigating the routes for the first time, too.

During the weekdays there are nine routes connecting the campuses:

  • A Route: College Avenue to Busch

  • B Route: Busch to Livingston

  • C Route: Busch Commuter Shuttle

  • EE Route: College Avenue to Downtown New Brunswick, Cook and Douglass

  • F Route: College Avenue to Cook and Douglass

  • H Route: Busch to College Avenue

  • LX Route: College Avenue to Livingston

  • REXB Route: Cook and Douglass to Busch

  • REXL Route: Cook and Douglass to Livingston

On the weekends, two buses run: Weekend 1 and Weekend 2, which take a trip around to all the campuses, running on an hourly basis.

Just as important as knowing the routes themselves, the buses run Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. until 3:30 a.m. and Friday through Sunday for 24 hours a day.

Getting on and off the bus

While you may feel the need to rush onto the bus as fast as possible, slow down for a moment and realize that there is a flow of people getting off of the bus. Always let those exiting the bus off first before you board, preventing a jam at the doors and even more chaos.

And when leaving the bus, be sure to thank the bus driver since they spend tireless hours driving around all day for you to be able to get to your destinations and deserve your utmost respect.

Bus etiquette

When traveling on the bus for your morning commute to class or to your late-night expeditions, it’s important to keep in mind that you are sharing this small space with everyone. 

If you choose to have a snack, make sure your food or drink doesn’t spill and make a mess. Keeping your personal world to yourself is key, and even small things like listening to music through headphones and keeping your bag with you on your seat instead of taking up another one make a world of difference.

Learning how to stand without falling over

It may sound silly, but being able to maintain your balance while on the bus is a necessary skill to gain. When the buses get packed and everyone crowds on like sardines, getting a seat won’t be a guarantee anymore. If you’re tall, hold on to one of the horizontally raised bars, leaving the vertical poles for those of us (like me) who are short and not able to reach. 

It will take practice, but after being forced to stand a few times, you will begin to have a better sense of balance and learn how to shift your weight with every turn so as not to fall over. Be gracious and try to offer a seat or give a less precarious standing spot to anyone who comes on the bus with a lot to carry, elderly people, disabled people, children and pregnant women. 

And always make sure to stand behind the white line while the bus is in motion.

Bus thoughts

As time passes, the bus gets stuck in rush-hour traffic or you daydream while looking out the window at the classroom buildings or scenic nature like the Passion Puddle, use your time wisely to reflect and take in your surroundings. The buses are filled with interesting characters and real-life entertainment (who may or may not be following these guidelines), so remember to enjoy your time and observe what’s all around you.

Write in a journal, chat with friends, study for class — there’s no better way to step outside of yourself than to think while on public transportation.

The Rutgers buses may seem tedious and burdensome at first, but by learning how to navigate them with grace and skill, you’ll be enjoying and making the most of your daily travels.

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