Thursday, September 4, 2008

Taking a ride on the bus

the bus stop we choose to start at
about to get on the bus
detail picture of the seats on the bus
pulling up to the depot

seeing a person waiting at a bus stop...they look asleep
our ending stop

For our second project in studio we were ro take a ride on a city bus for at least a mile and take note of our surroundings as well as read an excerpt from William H. Chafe's Civility and Civil Rights. Despite the fact that I've riden on public transportation before I was nervous about this experience. I have never riden the Greensboro city bus and had no clue about the routes. Before going, Megan, Sara and I looked online to find the bus stops, where each route goes and the times. When we pulled up the website for the Greensboro Department of Transportation it took us a while to find out where the information we needed was. And even once we found it we were still unsure about what we were doing. We eventually found a route that we thought would be good to take and there was a bus stop right near my apartment so we decided to take that one. As we were getting ready to leave we asked Jenni if she wanted to go with us.
We eventually got at the bus stop and waited only a few minutes before the bus was there. I was kind of anxious about what was to happen because the bus stop signs that were there didnt give you a lot of information about where that route would take you, the bus fares, or any other information.
As we got on the bus, the bus driver asked us if we were going to the Depot, if we were going to transfer. I didn't know what this meant. I had assumed that the bus continually went along the route and that we could stay on the one bus until we got back. The four of us took a seat in the back and preceeded to take everything in. I had taken my sketchbook with me and had planned to draw on the bus, but it was way too bumpy for that. Jenni videotaped the entire trip while Sara and Megan took some pictures. The four of us definitely felt out of place on the bus, and people were definitely looking at us.
The bus then arived at the Depot and we had to transfer to a different bus. We had no clue which one to get on so I asked the bus driver which bus we would take to get us back to where we came from. His response: "well why did you get on the bus in the first place." We told him it was for a school project and then he pointed to the the one we needed to take.
We got on the second bus but there wasnt room for all four of us to sit together so we split up. Eventually we got back to where we started and everything worked out fine. However, I have to admit that it was not the greatest of experiences and a little bit stressful.
After riding the bus I read the reading by Chafe. The reading was about segregation of races. And for me personally it did not influence my perception of riding the bus. While we were on the buses I noticed that there were people from all different types of races; not just one in particular. I also noticed that a lot of the people looked like they were coming from a job or on their way to one by the way they were dressed. Some people slept on the bus, while others just sat there, but not many people really talked to one another. While I dont think there was an segregation as to race on the buses I definitely think there was a sense of segregation of class. We didnt see anyone dressed in a nice suit or someone that looked like they came from a high paying job.
Another thing that I noticed on the bus was how there was no information or clues that told you what to do. If you had never road the bus, you wouldn't know...and thats exactly how I felt. The only thing I knew was the little bit of information we saw on the the website and that was even unclear. What about the people that dont have internet service? I think a lot more could be done, could be designed better so that people could travel on the public bus system more easily. From this experience I learned that things need to be designed well so that people can easily understand it. That they dont have to ask people question or look very hard to find the answers that they need on how to get somewhere. Also, things should be designed so that people from all different walks of life can function easily, and confortably within a space.

1 comment:

michelle b. said...

i really enjoyed reading your response to riding the bus. i could easily imagine myself in your shoes while reading your response and it seemed very honest. it reminded me of my first bus ride last year and having the same kind of experience; feeling lost and unsure of what to do,it was scary. i think you did a good job of examing your surrounding and being able to see the changes that need to be met so that riding the bus isnt such a bad exerience for first timers.