Photo by Mackenzie McCreary
It’s a bi-hourly event, Monday-Friday, that could rival the Walmart Black Friday mobs.
I guarantee ASU students will experience this near-riot event at least once in their collegiate career.
However, some of us are lucky enough to be a part of it two times per day — every single week.
The simultaneously worrisome and necessary ASU intercampus shuttle presents us with a situation we should have left behind in the mustard-colored school buses of our high school days.
I’ll wait in the hotter-than-Ryan Gosling sun for at least 15 minutes every day so I can two-step shuffle with other students to board the shuttle.
Usually, I catch a bus earlier than the one I need to get to class on time. So I’m pretty laid back about the whole process, and, as long as I’m not wearing heels, I’m fine with standing.
But there are some shuttle-patrons who see this service as their own personalized transportation system — you know, they just let other people ride it because they have to.
Some of the thought-processes that I imagine raging in these people’s minds include:
“I want to sit in the window seat going from Tempe to downtown Phoenix because I’m entitled to the hazy scenery of the freeway. And move aside, because I’m getting off first."
“I don’t want you sitting in the seat next to me because my personal bubble is extremely sensitive and I can’t be bothered to move my purse the size of a miniature Chihuahua."
“Some people will try to be courteous and let people on before them. But if they end up standing and attempting the balancing act while we jettison down the freeway for half an hour, then sorry, but I was here first.”
Sometimes I can’t believe the actions of some shuttle riders. It seems they feel the only way to survive this version of public transportation is to adopt douchebag qualities and never apologize. Here are some things you can do to join the ranks of self-indulgent shuttling:
When there’s not a huge crowd of students waiting to board, I’ve found everyone is pretty laid back about where they stand at the shuttle station. They’ll lean against a light pole or brick wall, or they will sit on the benches nearby. But when 4:30 p.m. rolls around, they all huddle together as if they’re braving a winter blizzard. Their toes will hang over the curb and they won’t budge, even when the bus finally arrives.
Never mind the people who still need to depart.
For these curb squatters, climbing the stairs to pick out their ideal seat is much more important than the arrival students getting to class on time.
So when you arrive at the shuttle stop, elbow and shrug your way to the front of the crowd. Offending people is worth boarding first. And don’t move out of the way for departing riders — they’re getting off, your perfect seat is what’s at stake here. If they have to trek around the entire crowd of eager boarders, then so be it.
Nearly every person who rides an ASU shuttle implements this preventative measure at one time or another. You place your backpack on the seat beside you to discourage other riders from taking that seat.
There are a million other spots open, right? Other riders can sit in those, just not in your partner-seat because you need your space.
Besides, it was that girl’s decision to wear those three-inch heels and it was that guy’s decision to bring three duffle bags on the bus. It’s not your responsibility to worry about their comfort — you just worry about your own.
However, during particularly busy bus times you can’t escape sharing an armrest on the ride to the next campus. Just keep your belongings on the seat as long as possible.
And if a particularly cheerful person has the audacity to ask if they can sit there, move your stuff and sulk for the rest of the ride. Death glares can do wonders.
Who needs possible friendship? They took your second seat and invaded your bubble of privacy. Life sucks.
You’ve picked up dinner for the ride home: a hamburger with extra grease, a burrito packed with onions, a couple slices of meat lover’s pizza. Once you get your seat, you break it out and the smell permeates the rest of the shuttle.
Who cares? It’s dinnertime whether they like it or not.
Also, make sure you are very obvious about your body functions. Don’t be afraid to burp loudly after a long drink of soda or suck the sauce off your fingers. Life is too short to worry about offending other riders with the rank smell of onion breath.
If someone has to switch seats to avoid the dizzying odor of fast food hamburgers and projectile vomiting, fine. That just means more room for you.
Everyone needs to hear that new Nicki Minaj song or be educated on the ear-gasmic sounds of Pink Floyd. So blast it loudly in your earphones and tune out for the entire ride.
With the volume turned up to a damaging level, you ignore the eyes that search for the source of the annoyingly buzzing beats floating through the shuttle.
Just turn it up louder. A free musical education for all, they should be grateful you’re letting them listen. It’s probably better than anything they have in their iTunes library, anyway.
Who cares if you can’t hear the professor’s lecture very clearly, you showed those weak shuttle riders what good music sounds like. The eye-rolls and frustrated sighs were worth the injured eardrums.
Your bus driver made an impossible U-turn as cars rapidly approached the green light. Another driver idled in the intersection, and yet another nearly gave you a heart attack when changing lanes on the freeway.
And the way this bus driver keeps punching the breaks is making you nauseous.
While it wasn’t the absolute worst experience you’ve had on public transportation, it wasn’t amazing either. So don’t thank the driver. They’ve been driving these shuttles since six in the morning and they still can’t get it right?
They don’t deserve your thanks. Just get yourself off as quickly as possible.
And there you have it. These five steps will ensure your douchebag status on the intercampus shuttle. You may get a lot of exasperated sighs, eye-rolls and maybe a couple of pointed expletives, but it’s all worth it if you can get as close to a perfectly selfish shuttle experience as possible.