As I hop on the transit and greet the driver, I flash my DMC identification card like a VIP pass. He gives me a nod, so I walk to the back of the bus and swing my body off a steel pole onto a two-seater. It is a relief I have the space to myself before the next wave of bodies comes pouring in.
Fortunately for college students, this ride is free with a valid school ID; very helpful when nickel and diming for something from the dollar menu on a busy day. As passengers begin to board it’s easy to see they could use the extra 75 cents themselves and suddenly, I am humbly gratified by the academic luxury.
Public transportation is a realm of the masses; a mess of all social classes gathered in a metal box and dispersed into the world again, one by one. There’s no helping the wonder of what each of them are thinking and where their destination is. Folks from every hood, empty handed or hauling their entire lives on their back.
On the surface of every personal journey, there is a large system of economic support that benefits every individual. Even people who choose to commute by car are at an advantage with a decrease in traffic congestion, but the real winners would be those in public transit. The daily encounters that passengers experience may feel meaningless firsthand, but undoubtingly swell into what makes up our community.
There is a sense of unification that emerges when in route, but it’s subtle. Because we all have our routines at the forefront of our mind, rather than how profound some guy passed out on the periphery is, smelling like booze and snoring louder than the engine. However, knowing that a typical bus ride takes about two hours, there is plenty of time to admire the unspoken solidarity found between strangers simply getting through life.