Taking the bus

Reality rarely meets expectation. Photo by hellogiggles.com

Reality rarely meets expectation.
Photo by hellogiggles.com

Do you remember when you were a child, waiting patiently at the bus stop, excited for the yellow school bus to come and whisk you off to school, because nothing was better than riding a bus packed with 40 wriggling, grumpy pre-teens?

Neither do I!

However, my initial fear of returning to public transportation was dispelled once I started using the buses on IU’s campus.

If you think about it, it only makes sense that a campus this size needs to have an efficient public transportation system. In addition, the campus grounds are, logically, going to cover quite a large expanse, which means for me at least, walking from one side to the other without looking like a sweaty water buffalo is going to be an issue.

Luckily, Bloomington boasts the best public transportation system in North America, and they aren’t even yellow, so there won’t be any visual triggers reminding you of the horrors of riding the public transportation from your youth.

For clarity, there are two types of buses that allow you access to campus: The appropriately titled Campus Buses, and the mighty Bloomington Transit System.

Campus Buses take you all over campus, and run every 5-10 minutes, depending on the time of day, and bus letter. The one of the best features of the campus buses is that there is a real-time app that allows you to see each bus as it continues on its individual route, so you can plan accordingly. These buses are easy to identify by their Crimson and white color, or large scale university sponsored initiatives printed on the sides. This bus is also tagged with our favorite word as students: Free. It doesn’t cost anything to step aboard.

Bloomington Transit buses cover a little more ground, so you have access to areas off campus, such as Walmart or your apartment. They are a sophisticated color of Kelly Green. These buses also stop at most of the same stops as the campus buses, however, the number of times a bus will stop at a given location on campus varies by number.My personal favorite bus (the 9) stops roughly every 15-20 minutes. This bus is free if you have a student ID card, otherwise you will need to pay a dollar per ride. They also have a great website that allows you to plan your trip, from anywhere you are. Go here: http://bloomingtontransit.com/ to see the magic!

As someone who had a car during her undergraduate career, getting used to the transportation system took a bit of time (that, and my internal topographical map is virtually blank), but once you master the bus, not only will you feel like a real-life ready adult, you can avoid parking fees, and having to scavenge through the hunting grounds for a parking space.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you to take the bus, I can personally attest to having made a fair number of friends just by hopping aboard. What better a way to introduce yourself than to ask a stranger for directions? Before you know it, you’re talking about your favorite restaurants, and course of study. Boom. Friendship. There are much, much better ways to make friends.