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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Washington chapter.

With the sun making its rare appearance in Seattle in February, it’s easy to mistake this strange occurrence as an invitation to act and feel as though we are walking down the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. What do you mean, you say? Allow me to digress. 

Last week, when I woke up with the sun shining through my blinds at around 7:30 am in the morning, I was confused. “Is this a dream?”, I said to myself. Why was I not automatically going back to sleep, telling myself that it’s 5 am and that it’s illegal to wake up when it’s dark out? So I got up, gave myself a reality check when I accepted that the sun was indeed real, and got ready for school.

As a commuter student, my mornings usually consist of brushing teeth, throwing on some clothes, and heading out the door with my pre-made oatmeal (that I will throw in a small container to eat on the bus cuz I can’t afford to miss my bus due to taking my time eating breakfast like a normal, healthy person). 

I felt great, you know? The sun was out, and it was like all of my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) melted away along with the snow that was on my driveway just a couple of weeks ago. As I parked my car in the park and ride and strutted my reborn, vitamin D less-deficient-by-the-minute self, there was nothing getting in between me and the beautiful day ahead of me. 

See, that was until… I realized that I left my husky card (University of Washington bus card) at home, and there were no seats left on the bus. Vitamin D my as$. 

So just in case, if you haven’t caught on, here is your guide to Seattle Bus Etiquette, because the sun does not melt away the Seattle Freeze. It’s real and it’s here to stay until July. 

1. Don’t leave your student bus card at home. But don’t fret if you do. 

Duh. BUT if you do find yourself in the situation, do not fret. This is the time to put your UW Drama 251 acting basics course that you took as an elective to good use. If you didn’t take that class, that’s fine. You just have to put on that puppy dog face that your mom put on to guilt-trip you when you first left for college and tell the bus driver straight up that you left your student card at home. Most of the time, the bus drivers are really nice about this, and I have only had one occurrence when the bus driver was a jerk and made me pay even though some of my tuition goes to public transit. It’s whatever I’m over it (ugh, so not over it). 

Do you know what I found funny? One time, when I left my bus at home and told the bus driver that, he looked up straight at the camera above his head while talking to me and said, “you can proceed but you will have to suffer the consequences of not paying your dues.” AHAHAHA. Ok, I know, the dude was just trying not to get fired like the rest of us and pay his bills. But it was so verbatim out of the public transit manual or something that I found the situation hilarious. What was I trying to say? Oh yeah, bring your bus card. 

2. Download the One Bus Away app if you haven’t already. 

I can’t wait until the Link underground light rail is done with its construction, but in the meantime, if you have not downloaded the One Bus Away app, do it. The user experience is trash on it, but the timetables are much more accurate than your Google Maps app that lied to you about the bus arriving at 5:15 when it was 5:45 with no bus in sight. I don’t know why it took me three years to download it again after deleting it, but this will save you a lot of time.  

3. Wait in the line 

Or the queue, if that’s what you call it. Remember when your fourth-grade school mates would shout out “he’s cutting!!!” in the cafeteria line? Yeah, that rule still applies here. Don’t make the mistake of getting yelled at by an old dude for accidentally not knowing where the line started as I did. Chivalry is dead, and completely non-existent at a bus stop. 

4. Make sure everyone is done getting off the bus before you hop on.

Self-explanatory. Unless you’re into a good bus wrestling match. Hold my bags, stranger! I mean hey, the bus can get boring sometimes! But we’re also all just trying to get home. 

5. When you see an open seat, take it. 

I honestly don’t know why people in front of me always walk to the back of the bus when there are empty seats, often whole rows of empty seats in the front! It’s like a game of musical chairs. You go ahead and mark that territory. Am I that person who marks her territory with her bag when I have a row to myself? Maybe. But I put the bag away when there are no open seats left near me, okay! Plus, I am like a tortoise carrying everything with me all the time anyway, so ain’t nobody wanna sit next to my bags of who-knows-what. Damn, I’ve been in Seattle too long. #SeattleFreezeGetMeOuttaHere

6. If you choose to nap, proceed with caution. 

Napping on the bus is great. Just make sure you set an alarm, or you’ll wake up with a big case of “where the frick am I?” Also, if you do decide to take a quick nap, keep your stuff close to you because people can suck. 

7. Check your seat before you leave

I have lost one too many things on the bus in the past. I was lucky enough to find my lunchbox the other week at the RideStore, but people steal things. If you lose something, try to contact the bus line as soon as possible to sort that out.

8. Find ways to make your bus ride more enjoyable

If you’re a commuter, it can be frustrating knowing that you have to travel maybe two hours traveling every day. However, listening to music, podcasts, reading, or whatever you like to do in the pastime can make your commute less dreadful. Learn to enjoy the moment that you have to sit back and enjoy the view of Seattle traffic. Kidding but not kidding haha. Worst case, resort to tip #6. 

9. Don’t be afraid to speak up

If anyone or anything is making you uncomfortable, let the bus driver and other passengers know and/or call the police. Oh, and if the bus driver forgets to open the back door, just yell out, “back door!” You’re welcome.

Have a fun and safe commute ladies! 






Alyssa is a junior at the University of Washington majoring in Communications/French. Besides writing Her Campus articles, she enjoys traveling, swimming, playing music, and contemplating where to go on her next trip. Check out my website: alyssatran.com