There is something about printing out Google Maps that makes a girl feel safe.
On Friday, February 20th Kaity and I completed our two hour bus interview trip to Cal Poly Pomona.
Along the way, we spoke with passengers about their bus experiences and annoyances.
“Taking the bus is the most efficient and practical way for me to get around,” said West Covina bus rider Lizel Rosal.
When two college students are taking public transportation in a completely different area, you have to plan for getting lost.
Task number one on my mental checklist do not get lost.
“I have gotten lost one time because I was scared to ask the bus driver for directions,” said Azusa resident Stephanie Beebe.
Anxious does not begin to describe the way we were feeling waiting for the arrival of our first bus.
“How do you put bus fare in the machine again?” “What if this is the wrong bus?”
After 15 minutes of waiting the 281 came rushing down the street.
I could smell the Pine Sol and bleach used to clean the bus as soon as doors opened.
That is a first compared to the smell of food, urine and sweat on the LA buses.
I quickly put in my bus fare, asked the bus driver for a transfer and mentally checked the two minor accomplishments off my bus adventure checklist.
I feel so accomplished.
The first bus was crowded. Majority of the people had their earphones in, almost as if they wanted to drown out the sound of children laughing.
Where is the excitement? Cal Poly Pomona student Rania Khalil had this to say.
“The weirdest thing that happened to be on the bus was when someone tried to sell me weed,” said Khalil.
After that comment, I can do with out the excitement.
On our first stop an eight year old boy entered the bus with fare and scooter in hand.
That is when I thought, “Kimberlee pull yourself together, if an eight year old can take the bus, then you can too.”
After 17 stops it was time for us to get off.
One problem, Where is the yellow pull wire?
Kaity and I looked everywhere and could not find it.
It was starting to become annoying, how on Earth are people doing that?
Finally, Kaity realized we had to press the yellow strip along the side of the window.
Oh how technology is evolving. Back in my day (am I old enough to say that) we did not have a yellow strip we had a yellow pull cord.
We pressed the yellow strip, got off and waited for bus 194 to arrive.
Next we stepped on to the next bus, handed the bus driver our transfer she asked if we knew where we were going.
I guess we had that look on our face. The look of, I trust Google Maps but I still have trust issues.
“So many people do not know where they are going, said the bus driver.” “They get on the bus and see me getting on the freeway, then they say wait, where are you going. I wanted to get on the bus to West Covina.”
This bus had a different vibe and fairly empty.
There was a total of five people including the bus driver.
Good conversations and laughter surrounded us until one of the passengers began screaming at the bus driver.
“Can you stop talking about that, I am going to tell the company you are not doing your job and that you are talking,” she said. “You should be driving the bus not talking.”
The bus driver responded back with a quick comeback yet kept her composure.
“The last time I checked I was 52 years old, I can say whatever I want to,” said the bus driver.
Talk about your awkward bus ride, after that no one spoke.
We quickly exited the bus and toured Cal Poly Pomona’s campus.
The luscious green fields, farms and horses galloping with one another was absolutely beautiful, if you like nature.
I for one like to appreciate it from a far, so I did just that, making sure I zoomed in on my camera.
On the way back things got a little confusing.
I am not sure what I would have done without Kaity by my side. Well actually I do know, I would have gotten on the wrong bus.
Seriously, why do buses have the same number but go in different directions? Not a rhetorical question.
That is beside the point, I am an experienced bus rider now.
On the last bus, two middle school students entered with a skateboard, scooter and Hot Cheetos in the other hand.
One of the students sat down while the other attempted to do a back flip on the moving bus.
All I could think to myself was, “please sit down before you hurt yourself.”
Rest assured no students were harmed in the writing of this article.
We were approaching our last stop in a couple of blocks.
I look up to press the yellow strip and the strip is nowhere to be found.
Finally I see it. The yellow pull wires are back!
Just when I thought I knew what I was doing.
Success, we made it off the bus. In the words of Ice Cube, “Today was a good day.”