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Bus Etiquette 101

Do you notice plenty of “resting bitch face” on the bus? Maybe you’re on the C Line minding your own business when, suddenly, people start throwing you dirty looks? It could be that they’re having a bad day, but just in case, here are some tips to help you make sure you’re not stepping on your bus mates’ collective toes.

1. Make Standing Room

You’re on the bus, innocently standing by the back doors and worrying about the risque text you sent this morning or the midterm you’re super unprepared for. But, all the same, remember to pay attention to your surroundings! We all know about the little yellow line at the front that all passengers need to be behind before the bus can get moving again. So if you see six people backed up at the doors trying to squish in, maybe look behind you and make sure you’re not blocking off half a bus’s worth of standing space. You’d be surprised how often I see someone holding up the entire bus just because they’re not paying attention. Oh, and please do take off your backpack if things get extra cozy. Why would you want to make the poor, exasperated driver shout at everyone first?

2. Your Backpack Does Not Pay Tuition

Speaking of backpacks… if you’ve ever opened the YikYak app in the general vicinity of Davis, you have seen an irritated post about backpacks taking up precious seats that are meant for human butts. I understand not wanting to put your bag on the floor of the bus (well, actually, I don’t, but it’s your property to treat as you wish). But when the last free seat gets taken, it’s time to make the sacrifice. No matter how much you paid for the bag, I promise the person searching for a seat is paying more for tuition, which includes Unitrans service. (And while we’re here, try not to be that person in classrooms either.)

3. Don’t Get Pushy

Some people struggle with this one just out of habit. When your bus finally pulls up to the MU or Silo, make sure to let all the passengers get off before you enter, rather than shoving or elbowing between them. When I know the bus is going to be packed I am determined to claim a seat, too. But relax, this is Unitrans, not a busy subway! I promise the driver won’t leave without you. And as tempting as it is, if you see others trying to board the bus through the rear doors, don’t follow. It makes it a whole lot harder for the driver to know how many passengers they have, which is part of their job.

4.  Use Your Inside Voice

I wouldn’t want to stop you from having conversations with your friends on the bus, so I also won’t try to stop you from talking on the phone. However, in both these cases please stay aware that there are others around you who probably don’t want to hear all about your weekend Tahoe plans or your roommate drama. And of course, if you’re listening to music it should always be with headphones on.

(Bonus: If you’re biking or skateboarding down the street on campus and a bus comes up behind you, budge over to the side of the road. It’s not hard. There’s no reason the bus should have to go 10mph or less because they’re stuck behind a cyclist, and it could really screw up their schedule if they do.)

I hope you’re seeing the common theme here. Be courteous to the people around you! It’s easy to get lost in thought (or your smartphone) while you’re being shuttled to and from campus. But I’m sure you’ve witnessed it too – one rude person can irritate an entire bus-full of passengers. So remember to think of others too, you might earn yourself a bit of good karma. Er, busma.

Laura is an English major at UC Davis and is excited to be a part of the Her Campus team! She wants to travel the world some day so she can learn about other cultures and ways of life first hand. She tries to stay as open minded as possible, and is an avid promoter of self-love, self-care, and self-reliance. She loves to invent characters and over-analyze her favorite TV shows, and considers herself an 'entertainment snob'. Her Dream of the Week™ is to become a script editor. She loves to sing, and is disproportionately proud of her eclectic song library and ability to remember lyrics.
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