The wheels on the bus go round and round: Students learn to use Metro Transit

There are many great things about living on a college campus in the Twin Cities: an abundance of shops, restaurants, people, and most importantly, public transportation. When bikes and long walks along Randolph are not enough, many students take the city bus. I didn’t grow up in a big city, so I never learned how to utilize public transportation such as buses, but I was determined to give it a go. Surprisingly, the more you research your route and use the buses and trains, the easier it becomes to plan your trip.

Rhiannon Shepardson ’18 took her first bus ride last September and was skeptical about what her experience would be like. One of her main concerns was missing her bus and not being able to find her way back to campus.

“I was also really freaked out because I thought there were going to be crazy people on there, and I mean there are crazy people on the bus, but I thought it was going to be filled with hobos,” explained Shepardson.

Much to her surprise, many different kinds of average people ride the bus! Shepardson also mentioned the phenomenon when encountering strangers you may need to sit near due to the fact that there is only so much space on buses.

“You have that awkward thing where you can’t talk to anyone and you’re sitting next to a stranger…and you’re just dead silent on your phone,” added Shepardson.

Prior to her first bus trip, Shepardson spent a lot of time planning her trip using the trip-planner on the Metro Transit website.

“I planned extensively in advance….I did a lot of extensive planning on their website looking other modes of getting there,” she said.

Shepardson brought up another situation where and herself and her roommate rode the bus and ended up being confused about where their stop was located.

“Me and my roommate got lost in (the Cities)…we were pretty much running up and down the street and we realized we had to cross the street and it was ridiculous and we barely got on on time and we literally got to the bus stop and two minutes later the bus showed up…it’s not as scary as I thought it would be because there is literally a bus every 20 minutes at (almost) every bus stop, so the worst comes to worst you go on their website or you have to cross the street essentially,” Shepardson said.

There are many resources available in regards to figuring out what transportation will get you to your destination. The first place you should look at is the Metro Transit web page. Here, people can watch Metro Transit’s video on how to ride the bus, as well as plan the bus route or light rail stop needed for one’s destination.

Another extremely helpful resource is Google Maps. Whether you go online or use the mobile app, Maps tells you exactly what bus to take to get to a particular place, as well as the stops where you need to transfer to a different bus. It may sound scary, the thought of transferring to another bus, but all you need do when getting on the first bus on your trip is to ask for a transfer ticket from the driver. This ticket allows unlimited rides from any Metro Transit bus and light rail line for two and a half hours.

The best thing one can do to make sure their route is correct is simple: plan.

“Plan, plan, plan, that would be my advice because…you’re going to want to plan it out at least a day in advance,” advised Shepardson.

Learning the Metro Transit system is something that does not always come easily, but with time and practice, anyone can learn. My advice would be to pick somewhere to go with a group of friends, plan it out, and ride the bus or light rail. It might be a little intimidating at first, but learning the bus system is well worth the trouble.

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