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Late bus routes are making me late to class

The LA Metro 266 bus makes me late to my Tuesday/Thursday class almost once a week. I was already late to class at least five times by the time midterms were here.

I take two buses to arrive to Long Beach State, the LA Metro 266 and the Long Beach Transit 93. So, if my Metro bus is late, I’m screwed.

It’s stated in an article by the Los Angeles Times published in January that the “Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus service has been reduced systemwide by as much as 18%…”

The 266 is scheduled to arrive at my stop at 7:53 a.m., but most of the time it arrives more than five minutes late. I start to get irritated when I see the time is 8:08 a.m. and my bus isn’t here yet. Once it hits past 8:00 a.m., I already know I’m missing the second bus.

There have been times when a LA Metro 266 bus driver that’s late for his route ignores my stop because a second driver is close by. It offends me when the first driver doesn’t stop because what if the second driver that’s behind them makes me late to my second stop?

This causes two 266 buses to drive right back-to-back of each other.

There have been times when I’ve watched the Long Beach Transit 93 bus drive away because the LA Metro 266 bus is at the stop light.

This can be gut wrenching. There’s nothing worse than watching your second bus drive away and then wanting to yell at the driver for being late.

I’ll contemplate showing up to my first class when I miss my second bus because I hate the embarrassment of interrupting my professor and walking in over 30 minutes late. I don’t want to feel like I’m an irresponsible student for my tardiness.

It’s embarrassing having to explain to my professor that I’m tardy because of public transportation. Luckily, my friend Kadie Gurley takes the same two buses that I do and we have the same class together. We both share our frustrations with our professor about being late.

One Thursday morning, I saw an anxious mother with her young daughter wearing a backpack waiting at the bus stop. I can tell by the look of the mother’s frown that she has been waiting for the bus to arrive for a long time.

I ask her, “Tienes mucho tiempo esperando el bus?” Which translates to, “Have you waited a long time for the bus?”

She nods her head with disappointment and points at the bus on the opposite side that just arrived. “Este es el secondo bus que a venido. Pero este no viene,” the mother said in Spanish that the opposite bus has passed by twice but not once has our bus arrived.

The mother continued to tell me that her daughter was already going to be late for school, something that no parent wants for their child. She told me someone was going to pick them up from the bus stop and take them to the school.

Luckily the bus was arriving just as she told me, so she picked up her phone and canceled her ride.

It’s not just me, a university student, that struggles with the bus, it’s also elementary school children.

This type of tardiness has been happening since last spring semester due to bus driver shortages in the Metro Bus lines. Some bus routes would even be canceled, causing me to wait almost an hour for the next bus.

It costs me about $30 to arrive to school on time by Uber. I can’t afford to pay that every school day, it’s just not possible.

Long Beach State does offer a discounted bus pass, however, Long Beach City College has a free bus pass. When will CSULB offer the same free pass?

Maybe it’s my fault for not taking initiative and learning how to drive. I should just ignore my anxiety and get behind the wheel already.

For now though, I guess I’ll have to put up with riding the bus late.

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