What Kind of People Ride the Bus?


When we started this journey, living a year without a car, I had only one previous experience with riding the bus. That trip didn’t go so well either. With no experience at that time, and being only 14, I jumped on the bus facing the direction of my house, with my friends who were visiting from Canada, and got the 4 of us lost after the bus took an unexpected turn (unexpected to me). I used a payphone, called my mom, she rescued us, and I never took the bus again. That is, until we began this adventure. In the four and a half months since we sold our only car, I’ve gotten well acquainted with the bus system in our area.


Four months into living our year without a car, this is what I have learned about the people riding the bus in Los Angeles. It completely changed the way I view the bus.


My ideas about the bus prior to riding it, I find embarrassing, shallow, even shameful, but I’ll share them honestly because I have had my mind opened and learned how terribly wrong I was. Going into this journey I thought that the bus was a place I didn’t belong. I thought it was a scary place where you find both crazy people and perverted people. I’m not sure if I created those ideas based on the movies and TV shows I’ve seen, the stories I’ve heard from others and in the news, or the prejudiced opinion I had about what kind of people ride the bus.

I thought the bus was something only chosen as a mode of transportation by those with low income who couldn’t afford to buy a car. I grew up in a world where everyone I knew that could drive, had their own car. Each family had two cars. If you were about to turn 16, you were already shopping for the car you would call your first. Even in the rare case that you didn’t have a car, from a list of only temporary reasons, the bus wasn’t something you rode until you got your car back. Instead you asked for rides and you got them. So, embracing our life without a car meant getting on the scary, dirty bus with a bunch of people I should pity or fear. Like I said, shameful thoughts. I couldn’t be more wrong about all of it.

We haven’t run into any crazy people on the bus. Not the scary kind anyway. Maybe we haven’t ridden enough, or on the right lines, but it’s not that the bus attracts crazy people. What needs to be made clear to those who think like I used to is that the world is full of weirdos. That and we live in LA. You aren’t going to find any more rude, scary, nosy people on the bus than you would walking down the street, going shopping, or on your commute to work. Let’s be clear about location. Everyone that gets a bad rep whether it is due to being loud, poor, rude, nosy, or crazy exist beyond the bus. These people are walking down the street, shopping at your favorite store, parents to other kids at school, and probably even your co-workers. Every city has them including Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Bel Aire, Santa Monica and Malibu. Want to know why? Because they are people. We all might have different lives, different lifestyles, different definitions of normal, and so on. You’d probably find that a lot of the people you look down on are actually beautiful souls that have a story to tell if you only gave them the chance and listened instead of judging them.

While riding on the bus we have met the nicest, most friendly, helpful people. Funny enough, now I feel we get these looks of pity from everyone driving past us while we wait at the bus stop, with kids. So, who have I seen riding the bus?

  • Business men in suits
  • Tourists
  • Locals
  • Beach goers
  • Elderly
  • Children
  • Adventurers
  • Families
  • People just like us
  • People who own cars
  • People who do not own cars
  • Teenagers
  • College Students
  • People who hate traffic
  • Event goers that hate busy parking lots
  • People with jobs
  • People without jobs
  • People of all shapes and colors

You know what you can’t tell about people riding the bus?

  • How much money they make
  • Where they are going
  • Why they take the bus
  • If they have other modes of transportation
  • If they are doing it for fun or requirement
  • What they do for work
  • What they do for play
  • What their story is

Therefore, there should be no judgement placed upon anyone riding the bus. I needed to have this experience in my life to remind me to keep an open mind. Sometimes I fall into twisted ideals that brew up negativity in my mind. I am happy we made this decision to go without a car to help open my eyes to how terrible my thoughts were on the topic of bus riding. I am not better than anyone else, and no one else is better than me. We are all people just the same, living different stories. Riding the bus has been one of the many blessing we have already discovered in 4 months without a car. It has been my favorite part so far.

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