CyRide: The key to Ames

Elizabeth Polsdofer

One of the biggest assets a student can have at Iowa State is understanding the bus system CyRide. While walking is a great way to get in shape and spend time outdoors, there are days when taking the bus is more convenient. 

No matter how intimidating the maps and routes may look at first glance, there are tricks to understanding the method behind the madness.

Find a destination

The first thing you want to do before you get on a CyRide is figure out where you want to go.

Easy enough. There are maps on every CyRide and in most dorm hallways. One side of the map will have the schedule of buses and the other side will have a map of Ames. Each route is color coded by route so you can figure out where you need to go and what you’ll see on the way.

Pick a destination first before you pick a route since several routes meet up in different places and any number of routes will do the trick.

What direction do I go?

Once you know where you want to go, going there is another hurdle since at any given stop there will be a bus that takes you where you want to go, and another bus that will take you in the opposite direction. CyRide tells you which bus you want by indicating the direction it is headed.

Unless you were an Eagle Scout, knowing what direction is east or west is probably not something you know automatically. The best trick to remember the cardinal directions is to pretend like you’re standing on Central Campus in between Beardshear, Curtiss and the Campanile. Beardshear is West; the Campanile is South; Curtiss is East; and North is where the statue of the bear is.

The CyRide map is easiest for directions, laid out in the typical North is up, South is down, West is left and East is right. If you want to go right on the map, you hop on a bus that says “East.”

If you really absolutely cannot do directions, then a quick cheat is that the bus will usually have its end route in the name. For example, the 1 Red West will also read the name “Ames Middle School,” which is the last stop on its route.

Lost still?

Ask the bus driver. 

CyRide drivers are extremely friendly and are more than willing to help you figure out exactly what bus you need to be on or give you advice on what bus to take. As someone who has spent countless hours perfecting each route, they understand that CyRide routes can be very confusing if you’re not familiar. Just tell them where you want to go, and they’ll tell you how to get there.

I’m there!

Push one of the buttons or pull on the string along the bus to indicate you would like to stop. 

The bus driver will let you off at the next CyRide stop, so make sure that you let them know you’d like off well before your stop.

Did you know?

As a team building exercise, CyRide drivers wave at each bus driver they see. It is a requirement of their job to do this literally every time they see another CyRide.

Dos of Cyride

1. Show your ISUCard every single time to the bus driver (unless its the free circulators — Orange, Cardinal and Gold) and have it ready to be shown when you’re getting on.

2. Thank your bus driver for driving you to your location.

3. Give up your seat to those who need it more than you. You’ll know when you see it.

4. Learn the schedule of buses that you will need most often for class or work. It’ll save a lot of time and frustration.

5. Head to the back of the bus to make more room for people when the bus is filling up.

6. Exit using the back door.

7. Wait for people to exit the bus before getting on.

8. Explore Ames and Iowa State.

9. Ask bus drivers if you have a question.

10. Take a bus schedule and map and keep it with you.

Don’ts of CyRide

1. Have that big important phone call while on CyRide where everyone on the bus knows how important you are.

2. Eat at all. CyRide threw this rule in here for a reason.

3. Take up multiple seats with your stuff when the bus is full.

4. Move two feet when told to move back to make more room and then wonder why not everyone can fit on the bus.

5.  Enter in the back door.

6. Have loud, personal conversations.

7. Forget your ISUCard or ignore your driver when they request to see it.

8. Share your music with the rest of the bus by having your iPod on obnoxiously loud.

9. Forget to get off at your stop.

10. Try to walk in front of CyRide to get free tuition, a rumor that haunts every college campus that has ever existed with a bus system.