Guide to surviving PARTA

Marchae Grair

When I came to Kent State, I didn’t understand how I was ever going to make it to class on time. I am the slowest walker who ever graced the planet, and waking up two hours early to get to class on time did not seem like a good plan.

One day while I was walking, I discovered the lazy man’s safe haven: the PARTA bus system. Tears came to my eyes the first time I saw a campus bus and realized that my walking days were no more.

I’ve been at Kent State a little more than a semester, and I consider myself a champion bus rider. Bus riding follows the basic principle of college life: It is not as simple as it seems.

Take it from somebody who has ridden the Campus Loop more than any bus driver — one cannot ride the bus without having a few tricks up his or her sleeve. I consider it my civic duty to tell students what PARTA simply can’t say on a pamphlet. Never plan to ride the bus without considering the following:

– Always deodorize before you get on the bus. If you have to stand while riding, there is a pole you must hold that puts your armpit directly over some poor passenger’s head. If your odor accidentally sends a passenger into unconsciousness, you might feel guilty.

– The bus does not load once it has pulled away from the curve. PARTA has a helpful sign that warns you not to try such a feat, but unfortunately, this sign is located inside of the bus.

– Get an iPod for your bus ride. If you try and start a random conversation with another passenger, they will look at you like you have a strange rash on your forehead. After the fourth or fifth person wouldn’t talk to me, I finally got the hint.

– If you talk about your deepest, darkest crush on the bus, don’t be surprised if that person finds out. For those without an iPod, eavesdropping is the cheaper form of bus entertainment.

– The doors of the bus are possessed. They stay open until a person is walking through them. Then, the doors will conveniently close on someone’s poor leg, ensuring that he or she limps for the rest of the day. At this point, passengers remaining on the bus will hear a yell from the bus driver saying, “Hey, the door’s broken.” Unfortunately, human sacrifice is the only way they can know this.

– There is a mysterious odor on the bus, but I choose not to investigate it. My hypothesis is that a whirlwind of body odor, old food and “broken wind” has permeated the bus seats and will be with riders until the end of time.

– Getting on the bus too early is never fun. If you get on too early, you may ride the same route over and over again until it’s your time to get to class, but the bus driver will notice. You will then feel like a loser.

– Some people think the bus walkway is a fashion runway. They get on the bus with perfect hair and designer clothes and walk as if Ralph Lauren is waiting in the back to sign a contract with them. These people are just as scary as those with the aforementioned body odor — try to avoid both.

Marchae Grair is a freshman broadcast journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].