GRT: A user’s guide

The best part of my day is when I get the chance to – no, the pleasure of – riding on the Grand River Transit (GRT). I don’t see it merely as a mode of transport but as a sort of adventure. Like any adventure seeker however, one cannot expect to just throw oneself haphazardly into the world of public transit and expect to come out unscathed. Here, then, is a short guide to the possible happenings (and mishaps) that may be awaiting you on any given bus ride.

I bet there isn’t one person out there who doesn’t appreciate a challenge of Einsteinian proportions at least once a day. Try, then, the test of synchronizing the bus schedules to your morning routine.

This can be a delicate operation, and you need to remember to arrive about 20 minutes early and to treat the bus drivers carefully.

Make eye contact with the driver as they pull towards you, or you may be victim to the new trick that the drivers native to this region have pulled out – they will pretend to not see you at the stop, as you are frantically pulling out your bus pass and organizing your bags, and they will simply pass you by.

There is nothing for you to do but stand, aghast and literally open-mouthed, as you watch your only transportation venture along without you. This type of action has yet to be prescribed an explanation, so extra caution is needed.

Given the occurrence of either of these instances, you will subsequently have the opportunity to sit in the freezing cold rain with the burden of a 60-pound bag of precious textbooks on your aching back, contemplating life.

However, such deep thoughts can also be easily interrupted; this is often where the really entertaining part of public transit can set in.

Why, an unidentified stranger (who you had noticed was inching slowly but steadily towards you) desires to have an early-morning chat! How wonderful it is to connect with another being.

The question arises as to why these encounters always seem to occur with those who smell noticeably odd and who chat all too eagerly about their past relationships and the general tendencies of the weather in Cuba.

Occasionally this stranger may try to give you a peach or other food (I’ve experienced this several times now – I guess I’m always really hungry-looking on the bus?).

My recommendation in such a situation is to merely smile (but not too much; this is critical, as too much of a smile may mean you’ll be offered the whole bag of peaches, and that would just be awkward) and firmly say you already have an abundance of fruit at home.

Take note that such occurrences can arise at the bus stop or on the bus itself.

Be polite to this stranger, as you don’t want to start your day with a conflict before you even get to campus.

So, for all of you out there with cars who are taking the more convenient route every morning, or those who choose to walk to get “fresh air” (it’s only going to get colder, folks) why not indulge in a little daily mental escapade, courtesy of the GRT?

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