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Original photo by Taylor Tieder
Academics

I Figured Out How To Navigate the Seminole Express So You Don’t Have To

Don’t get me wrong, Tallahassee’s hills are lovely to look at and even fun to drive on. But, if you have ever had a class in the Williams or Diffenbaugh buildings, you know how dreadful the breathtaking walk to them is. Other notable campus ankle-breakers include the mountain leading up to Westcott Fountain and the slopes surrounding Landis Green.

After wasting away my first week of classes by searching for a spot in Traditions Way Garage followed by having to summit what feels like a 60-degree climb, I was sweaty, exhausted and frustrated. The Florida State University (FSU) buses whizzing by taunted my wheezing self. By Friday, I declared that I would forever ditch dragging myself up to class. That’s when I turned to the Seminole Express. Sitting in an air-conditioned shuttle felt heavenly compared to slumping through the infamous inferno that is Florida. So, I feel that I am inclined to inform the rest of FSU about this mysterious yet miraculous transportation alternative.

Here’s how to navigate the Seminole Express:

Step 1: research the routes

Seminole Express bus sign
Original photo by Taylor Tieder

FSU has four main bus lines including Garnet, Gold, Renegade and Heritage. All of these routes loop around the outskirts of campus and beyond. Go to this link to pinpoint the route that will relieve you the most. In this version, FSU’s routes are starred and highlighted. Take note of where you want to start and where you want to get off.

step 2: select a stop

Seminole Express bus sign (#2)
Original photo by Taylor Tieder

On the website above, you can click on the small colorful circles to pinpoint the bus stop nearest to you. It is important to note that not every bus stop is used by every route. For example, as seen in the picture above, stop 2152 is only for Gold and Renegade buses. Personally, though, I prefer using Google Maps and entering a start location like Call Street Garage. Then, I zoom in until bus stop icons (the small blue squares with a white bus in them) show up. If you hover over an icon, the bus routes the stop uses will appear. Additionally, if you click on the icon, it will tell you the bus stop number.

Once I’ve picked the stop I want to use, I go back to this site and type the stop number into the “route/stop” search bar on the right and click on the stop description. This gives you the estimated arrival of the next buses, as well as a phrase to text to the phone number 41411. “TALLY (Insert bus stop number here)” is the phrase format. When sent, the number texts you back the precise updated time the next few buses are coming. This method is especially quick and simple when you're on the go or haven't left your home yet.

step 3: go to the stop and get on

Inside of bus
Original photo by Taylor Tieder

Most stops are indicated by a sign or pole like those pictured above step two. The bottom right corner of the sign shows its stop number. Wait by the sign until you see the yellow, red and white bus coming. To confirm that the approaching bus is for the route you want to take, read the thin horizontal screen on the heading of the bus—it will flash one of the route names. Don’t forget to wear a mask and hop on!

step 4: get off and go to class

Unconquered statue bus
Original photo by Taylor Tieder

When you notice the stop you want to get off at approaching, press the nearest long thin yellow vertical button on the wall behind you or beside you that has “PRESS TO SIGNAL” printed on it. This will light up the “Stop Requested” sign in the front of the bus above the driver to let them know you want to get off at the next stop. Once the bus stops, thank the driver and be on your merry way.

other details to note:

  • There is a bus phone app that you can download named TransLoc, but I find it a tad overwhelming. Feel free to use it though! It has some perks like showing maps of the bus routes and where the current buses are in real-time.
  • During fall and spring, FSU’s buses run from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Masks are required on all buses so don’t forget to bring one, and your FSUID card (in case the driver asks to see it)!
  • It doesn’t hurt to confirm with the bus driver that they are going on the street you want to stop at.
  • I recommend doing a test run on the bus you wish to take beforehand to practice and work out any kinks. It’s also a good idea to use a timer on your phone to see how long the ride is to help you determine the latest bus you can take and still be punctual to class.

Congratulations, you've mastered using the Seminole Express! After the first time, I can assure you that the nerves of it being a new experience will fade and it'll become second nature.

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Left-handed writer from South Florida on her way to becoming a fiction novelist. Her favorite works include adventure, magic, and unique twists.
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