College Lifestyles has decided to touch upon a topic close to all of your hearts – the unwritten rules of public transportation. At one point or another, it is inevitable many CLassy co-eds will be using public transportation for your awesome new internship, your first day of class, or even for your newest big girl job! We were able to talk to 5 CLassy co-eds and create this guide for some pointers, but most of all, to stay safe!
All in all, one thing’s for sure – don’t forget a pair of headphones and your phone to keep yourself busy during the long, boring commute!
Louis Venturelli: NYC Subway; Columbia University; Grad School
Mark Gilmartin: NJ Transit Bus, NYC Subway; Citifield; Summer Internship
Nicole Moffa: NJ Transit Bus; NYC; Work
Taylor Monico: Metro North Train; Grand Central Station; Internship
Lauren Yaconis: NJ Transit Bus; Times Square; MTV Internship
CL: What is your take on talking on the cell phone on a train/bus ride — especially in the morning? (Or… the group of loud women chatting loudly?)
MG: I think early in the morning you should be mindful of other people on the train and should not be talking on the phone and if you are talking on the phone keep it short and quiet.
TM: Hearing loud conversations or noises in general first thing in the morning is always less than desirable, howeverI try to keep in mind that Metro north does provide a “quiet train” option that I could take advantage of if I really wanted to. It’s also important to remember that the train is a form of public transportation and having complete silence for one’s daily commute is somewhat of an unrealistic expectation.
LY: I think people who talk loudly on the bus to another person or on their cell phones are very rude. After a long day I would like to just relax on the commute home rather than listen to someone else talk loudly.
CL: What do you do to keep yourself busy on a long commute?
LV: Instagram! I make sure I load up on pictures before losing service on the subway. If not Instagram, then probably reading a magazine or book.
MG: I normally keep to myself on public transportation. I listen to my iPod and go on Twitter and Facebook on my phone.
NM: Listening to music and checking social networks keeps me occupied on the bus.
TM: If I don’t have a book or magazine to read, I usually plug my headphones in and listen to music or use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) on my iPhone.
LY: I read on the bus (so far have read 7 books this summer).
CL: What was your worst experience on public transportation — STORY TIME!
LV: Falling asleep on the train late at night… waking up in Coney Island.
TM: My worst experience on the train was getting stuck in Bridgeport, CT on my way back from New York. There was a brush fire near an upcoming stop so the train had to stop, forcing all passengers to get off of the train and find their own way of getting back to New Haven.
LY: I have had to wait on line for an hour or more on some days where there is a long line for my bus in the evening. It is absolutely miserable standing in line with cranky people for an hour! I have witnessed yelling arguments of people accusing others of cutting or letting someone else cut! I have even had elderly men fall asleep on my shoulder before!
CL: Has public transportation ever made you late to work/class? How did you handle this situation?
LV: Yes, I have had my share of detours, service interruptions, etc. Fortunately most people in NYC ride the subway so they understand that these things happen. To avoid being late for class, I started leaving home at least thirty minutes earlier than necessary.
TM: No, public transportation has never made me late to work, but that’s because I always give myself more than enough time to get to where I am expected to be.
CL: More for the women: being on public transportation often requires being comfortable. What do you do to make sure you’re comfortable, but still professional for work?
NM: Usually the air conditioner is blasting on the bus so I either bring a jacket or a sweatshirt with me to keep me warm.
TM: I always make sure that if I choose to wear heels, I pack a pair of dressy flats in my bag in case my feet start to bother me at some point during the commute. It’s always smart to pack a cardigan as well in case the AC is on too high!
CL: Has anyone ever been robbed?
LV: No! But my mother constantly reminds me not to take out my “cellular” on the train late at night.
TM: Fortunately, I have never been robbed. However, a woman on the train rushed by me in a panic one night and asked if I had seen anyone go by with her purse. Apparently, when she fell asleep, someone grabbed her purse off of the seat.
CL: Has anyone ever encountered a “smelly” situation?
LV: Yes, switch carts, IMMEDIATELY.
TM: YES, but I always try to avoid the bathroom cars and being near people with smelly food!
CL: If you could give one piece of advice to a new commuter, what would it be?
LV: Have your Metro Card ready before getting to the subway station… Otherwise, risk missing the train while rushing to find your card.
NM: Do a test run before your first day of work or your internship.
TM: Give yourself MORE than enough time to get to where you are expected to be. Pack lightly. Be alert. Expect noise. Expect to stand if you’re commuting during peak hours!
LY: Try to come into work earlier and leave earlier because after 5:30 Port Authority becomes a mad house. Also drink lots of water and carry Advil! I get headaches frequently from commuting.
Diane Ferrer, Sorority Life and Relationship Writer at College Lifestyles, is a Senior Advertising Major at Quinnipiac University that wants to see the world. She enjoys dancing, sunshine, laughing, the beach, new adventures, and Kappa Alpha Theta.