Long: Common courtesy when riding on the bus not difficult


Photo: Nicole Wiegand/Iowa State Daily

Riders pack into a CyRide bus at Kildee Hall to avoid the rain on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Columnist Long argues that common courtesy while riding CyRide to class or work not only makes the ride more comfortable, but it also saves riders time and hassle.

Craig Long

It is November. That means by now everyone on campus has been here for at least three months. Anyone who rides the bus with any regularity has done it enough to know how it works. So why, when I got on the bus Friday of last week, did no one seem to know what happens every single time a bus begins to fill?

My friend and I stood on the steps and waited and waited and waited as everyone stood around in the front half of the bus. Eventually, the driver managed to get the door closed behind the couple other people who managed to squeeze on after us. It was strange, and slightly irritating, that the driver didn’t usher everyone to the back of the bus. There was no one behind the rear doors, and yet I was forced to become uncomfortably intimate with several people I didn’t know.

Why does this happen every day? Every single time that I ride the bus during the day, unless it is in the middle of an hour when most people are in class or in the library, the bus has had to stop and wait so the bus driver can get us all to shuffle backwards as though we are a mass of cattle which do not want to walk to the end of our trailer.

My personal favorite is when we are prodded to move back, and whoever is furthest back on the bus moves about three feet and stops, when there is still ample space behind them. When they are helpfully reminded again by the driver, they look behind them as though there is nowhere to go, and cannot, for the life of them, figure out why the bus hasn’t started on to its next destination yet.

I know it only takes a couple minutes, but it is a major annoyance. You would think that we students, after having this happen over and over and over again, would use that wonderful brain we are here to develop, and adapt. We can see and can interpret what we see (or at least we should be able to by now…). So, when the bus is full toward the front and you look out and see people at the bus stop, why don’t you move back right away, instead of waiting to hear the call? Better yet, why don’t you make sure that you’re standing closer to the back than the front anyway (assuming the bus isn’t overcrowded but the seats are full) so that we don’t have to wait in the event that only a few people need on?

It is as though we are territorial over where we are standing or something. It seems like we’ve arbitrarily picked a spot to stand, and cannot be inconvenienced to move anywhere else, though we know the bus won’t move until we do.

Maybe some of you have some sort of fear, like claustrophobia. I can understand that, but standing towards the back isn’t going to necessarily place you closer to a group (especially if everyone else remains standing in the front), and in the end, you’re just delaying the inevitable. You’re going to be packed in like tuna in a can by the end of the bus trip anyway.

It isn’t just a time issue either. People may have a tight schedule between class and work, or have an appointment to get to. By simply positioning yourself toward the back of the bus, you can make someone’s day infinitely easier. It also could end up saving CyRide some money. They’re having funding issues, and if they don’t have to stay idle every single trip for people to shuffle towards the back, it may cut gasoline costs.

It’s not that hard. It’s not that big of an inconvenience. You know it’s going to happen, so why do you waste your time, and everyone else’s as well? Just walk towards the back when you get on the bus. Everyone else on the bus and waiting outside thanks you.