The University of Florida has much to boast including its sought after academia, spectacular professors and the like. One could ponder what flaws UF has, if any. If you’re having trouble making a list, let me help you: parking spots. In other words, you won’t find any.
What can a girl do when her form of sustenance (i.e. pasta and popcorn) starts to run low? Does she trek four hours with three pound weights, AKA grocery bags, from the only parking allowed for under 60 credit students? Or does she take the bus? Unfortunately, I chose the latter, the lesser of two evils. Or so you’d think.
You might also think the phone app for the bus system would be simple enough for said girl to read and understand. Consider your expectations too high for this less-than-capable being. After failing so many times, I can call myself the best resource for tips on how to navigate the bus system. You’re welcome in advance, fellow directionally-challenged students.
First tip: Do not go on a bus that takes you off campus late at night on the weekend. Especially when you don’t even know if you’re on the right bus. You’ll soon find yourself on a bus that goes in the completely opposite direction. Long story short, I had a very kind Uber driver talk me out of dropping out of school and moving back home. A true “woe is me” moment.
After learning from that horrendous experience and bonding with my roommates after they pitied the newfound dunce of the dorm, I began to navigate my way through the bus system with outstanding precision. Kind of.
I should have constantly checked the Rider bus phone app to ensure a bus would be available to take me downtown to an exciting dinner with my professor and classmates. Instead, I ransacked my closet. But I did manage to make a small step towards progress. I asked the bus driver, “Hi, does this bus take me downtown?” I patted myself on the back for that ingenious idea. Then I heard, “No, this bus does not go downtown.” And of course, the last downtown bus of the day driving away. I felt my progress slide 10 steps back.
So I managed to walk from Beaty Towers to downtown in heels after Siri tried to persuade me to walk into a lake. The detour would’ve cut off half the trip if only I could’ve included walking on water as part of my repertoire. This time I learned the lesson of why you should plan ahead and use the lifesaving Rider app.
I actually avoided using the buses until moving off campus, when I had to overcome my fear and obliviousness. I learned how to understand the Rider bus app and walk towards the buses. It can’t get anymore difficult than that, really.
I can give you one last tip. When standing in the bus, make sure to situate yourself in a squatting position. Keep your feet shoulder width apart, but don’t actually squat (because that’d be weird), to avoid falling over. How did I learn this, you ask?
You guessed it—I’ve fallen over before. After finally learning my way around the bus system in Gainesville, tripping was just a nice wakeup for my morning. Nothing can embarrass me now. My fellow (annoyed) bus-goers caught me as I fell during a turn in order to avoid being crushed by my backpack full of rocks, better known as textbooks. The frantic faces started to look like the beginnings of a crowd. At once, I was crowd surfing. And boy, did it feel good.
Trust me, I have many more horror stories to tell. After the many obstacles I faced while learning my way around the Gainesville bus system, I hope my blunders will keep you from following the same path. Instead of attempting to walk on water, I can now enjoy my 10-minute ride on the correct bus by cursing myself for going to bed so late and angrily remembering all the things I forgot at my apartment. I wish you all good luck on the maze that we call the Gainesville bus system. We all need it.