If you are a commuter, like me, and are without a car, the only way to get to class is to take the bus. Though unglamorous, it makes navigating Riverside effortless and offers a glimpse into a culture few CBU students know.
Riding the bus is simple, but it can also be bizarre, unpredictable, irritating or amusing, depending on your mood. Each ride costs $1.50, but those who attend colleges in Riverside County ride for free. You enter the bus from the front and exit in the back.
My commute begins at the Starbucks on Mt. Vernon Ave. and Centerpointe Drive in Colton. Around 7:35 a.m., the 215 takes me to the Downtown Terminal off Mission Inn Ave. in Riverside. While I wait, I’m usually offered reading material from friendly Jehovah’s Witnesses. At 7:58 a.m., the 1 West then takes me to California Baptist University. The commute is roughly 50 minutes on average.
Between 3:15 and 3:30 p.m., the 1 East takes me back to the Downtown Terminal, and the 215 takes me to the Carl’s Jr. across the street from where I began. This commute usually runs an average of 70 minutes if the buses are on time.
While it can be said riding the bus isn’t anyone’s ideal, it’s shown me that I’m impatient waiting for late buses and I should be more thankful for a free mode of transportation.
One benefit to riding the bus is it fosters independence. Those who ride the bus often quickly figure out all the places they can go if they have a bus pass. Riders who have no car temporarily or for a longer period of time can ride the bus with ease, knowing that they can get to work, their doctor’s office or a friend’s house without one. In addition, those who enjoy observing human behavior will find this very entertaining.
The bus also shows how fortunate we are to have the blessings God has given us. Our mission-minded institution places great value on serving our world, but in the midst of making commutes in first-class vehicles, squeezing in the occasional Starbucks run and buying new technology, we easily forget how blessed we truly are compared to those who have nothing. If asked, would you withhold something as simple as bus fare?
One sad aspect of riding is riders see how inconsiderate many in the community are. Last semester, I was on a bus that had its alternator die during transit. Thankfully, we were able to transfer to the 15 East, but three teenage girls from a local high school were very rude, blaming the driver for delaying their ride and having to pay more fare (which never happened), cursing and flipping him off while he was outside, trying to fix the problem.
More recently, I had a man sitting in the aisle seat next to me, and a pregnant woman near birth boarded our crowded bus and stood. Whether it was her choosing or due to the lack of seats, it was unclear. The man next to me did not offer his seat. Thankfully, a few stops later, she found a seat. If anyone thought chivalry was dead, this was proof to lay that debate to rest.
But, in the midst of the imperfect, there are still great moments to behold. Whether it’s seeing couples together, parents with their kids or a blind couple wholeheartedly devoted to each other, you can still see God in his creation. Seeing riders thanking the driver for the smooth ride and boarding to swap friendly greetings with an upbeat driver is enough to lift your mood before you even reach your destination.
Riding the bus may not be the ideal mode of transportation, but it can be educational and eye-opening to those who are willing to take the journey.