Surviving a Bus Ride From Hell

Last weekend, I traveled to New York City to visit my sister and friends who go to school there. Murphy’s Law states that whatever can happen will. And things definitely happened last weekend.

In order to save a money on transportation, I decided to ride the bus instead of using the relatively reliable Amtrak. At first, this seemed to be a great decision. I was only paying around $40 round trip from Boston to NYC. I went into the day of my departure pretty optimistic.

On the morning that I left, everything was going according to plan. My bags were packed, two meal swipes were used at Hodgdon to pick up cartons of Soymilk and Raisin Bran, and I was ready to leave right after my class ended at 12:50 p.m.

After class ended, I rushed to my dorm to grab all my things and headed to the Joey stop at Olin, ready to take the next bus. However, I waited 20 minutes before checking the Joey schedule and realizing that the Joey takes a break from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every Friday. I was forced to walk to Davis Square. This annoying 15-minute walk while carrying my luggage for the 3-day trip was an omen of things to come.

Thankfully, the T was running perfectly on schedule and I was able to make my bus in enough time to pick up a breakfast sandwich from the food court at South Station. There’s a certain fast food restaurant that now serves breakfast all day, which really makes life more convenient. It also greatly reduces any incentive for the average person to wake up before 10 a.m. But enough about breakfast. I was able to reach my bus gate easily, and standing in front of me in line was a beautiful girl. I noticed she had a Wellesley logo on her luggage tag. From there, I was able to start a conversation with her about New England college life. Sadly, our conversation was interrupted by the process of getting my luggage onto the bus. We were separated, and I wasn’t able to talk to her again. By the time I got on the bus, the seat next to her was already taken; this was a mild disappointment.

At first, the bus ride was great. My seat was comfy and I actually got some reading done. I felt so productive. In the first two and a half hours of the ride, I was psyched about meeting up with friends and family I hadn’t seen in months.

But then, the unthinkable happened. Somewhere in Connecticut, the bus stopped. Something was wrong. Nobody knew what. After the bus had been stopped for around five minutes at 4:45 p.m., the driver told us that the problem would take only fifteen minutes to fix. So we waited. Thirty minutes later, people started getting impatient. The bus had not started up again, and the bus driver seemed to have little concern for our welfare. Nobody on the bus knew what was going on. We only had a suspicion that the statement from the driver was full of bull feces. About an hour later, frustration peaked. Some guy had to cancel his dinner reservations. People started talking about getting Ubers all the way to Brooklyn. Something was definitely wrong with the bus. It was 6 p.m. at this point. The bus driver finally gave us the statement that he had no idea when the bus would be back on the road, but for some reason he had not called in another bus to come pick the passengers up. At this rate, we weren’t going to New York anytime soon. The bus driver had lied to us and he wasn’t helping anyone by denying the fact that the bus wasn’t going to move.

Something had to be done. About three Ubers came by to pick up people on the highway. Sadly, I wasn’t down to spend an extra $50 on my transportation to New York, a city that eats money ravenously. Luckily, a man with ’80s metal hair, the grossest sideburns I had ever seen, a denim jacket, and a black t-shirt with an offensive logo found out that there was a MetroLink Station about half a mile away from our random location on the highway. About twenty of us were convinced to walk with this guy to the Bridgeport MetroLink Station. Twenty people carrying luggage climbed over a highway overpass and ran down a steep hill to make it to the street. We walked as a mob toward the station and had a bonding experience. Turns out the guy sitting next to me who I wouldn’t have talked to on the ride otherwise was a pretty cool guy trying to get to New York to spend time with his girlfriend. After paying an extra $14 to take the train, the twenty of us made it to Grand Central Station at around 9 p.m., and we never saw each other again. Twenty of us share this story, but I called dibs on telling the internet about it. I’m also the only one who blew another $6 at a certain golden-arched fast food restaurant in Times Square with a homie that same night.

The immediate lesson of this story is that the reliability of buses is inconsistent. The trip back on a bus was perfect, with no problems. Another moral is that public transportation has its benefits. If I had been cruising the highway in my own lovely car, I would’ve been delayed further. Back home, I probably wouldn’t have been able to walk to a MetroLink station since we have like five in all of California.

This story also convinces me that trips are dangerous. Anything that can happen will. Bad things do happen. Obviously, Tufts has its problems too. I agree that there are people like the bus driver who are lying to students about how ideal our community is. There is an aura of wealth here. A lot of people wouldn’t think twice about taking the Amtrak instead of the bus. You’ll find stuck-up, pretentious students that treat society like a toy at any higher institution. But, I want to clarify that the majority of wealthy students I have met here are not like that. For the most part, I really wouldn’t mind splitting an Uber with my peers to get to where we need to go. Anything that can happen will, and we will need to work together when inevitable issues arise. A majority of the student body wants to learn and grow here. We can work together to complete our individual journeys. We need to maintain peace while working to resolve these issues in order to sustain the pursuits of our journeys. I know there’s at least one Jumbo who’s strong enough to make it through a trip from hell. I’m sure you other people who are better than me could make it through one alright too.

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