Letter to the Editor: Singing the blues to Princeton

“The wheels on the bus go round and round.” The song popped into my head when I learned I would be taking the bus at least four times a week. I’m a student on the Lawrenceville campus, but I also take a couple of classes on the Princeton campus. Although I can get a ride with another student some days, other days I’m left without that option and forced to ride the bus.

When the big day arrived when I was supposed to get on that big rectangular automobile for the first time and go to Westminster, it suddenly occurred to me that I had no idea what I was doing. I hadn’t looked up the schedule; I had no idea how much it would cost; and although I knew which stop to get off at in Princeton, I had no clue where I was supposed to get on to come back.

No, I’m not a ditz — just an overwhelmed freshman who had a lot to figure out her first week of school.

Two months later, I’ve become a pro. With the campuses beginning to really merge, I thought it was time to pass on my hard-earned knowledge. There are two easy ways to get a bus schedule: on the bus and online.

Here are a few helpful tips: the bus that goes from Rider to Princeton is the 606 through NJ Transit. The Web site for NJ Transit is http://www.njtransit.com. Simply click on “bus schedules” and then “606” for a complete list of times. To go to Princeton, you want the 606 to Princeton. To come back from Princeton, you want the 606 to Mercerville.

The closest bus stop is across the street from the Lawrenceville campus in front of the Emmaus House. If you’re going to the Westminster Campus, free bus passes are available at the information booth in the BLC. If you’re not, it’s $1.90 to get from Rider to Princeton. Note: you must have exact change. Bus drivers don’t carry money to make change for passengers.

If going to Westminster, the closest stop in Princeton is at Chestnut Street. Once off, you simply walk up Chestnut to the WCC campus. If you’re going to Princeton for some other reason, Palmer Square is a regular stop right in the center of town. The bus ride can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a half hour. This can become a problem when it comes to scheduling classes.

With music being my passion, I find the classes offered at Westminster an amazing opportunity. That being said, because of the time needed for transportation, a class at Westminster generally takes up three blocks instead of one. For instance, choir starts at 1:10 for me. When I ride with another student we can leave at 12:15, but because the bus schedule and class schedule don’t exactly match up I generally have to catch the 11:50 bus. Class ends on alternating days at 2 or 2:20, which means I don’t get back to the Rider campus until 2:30 or 3. Long story short, I can’t take afternoon classes.

This next part is important — there is such a thing as bus etiquette. There is no food or drink allowed, and the wider seats are for the handicapped, the elderly or people with small children, if needed. Men never sit with women they don’t know, unless it’s the only option. When you’re packed in, the only boundary you’ve got is respecting each other’s silence and trying not to take more than your half of the seat.

Riding the bus, you get to see people other than fellow students. It’s good to be reminded that there are people living and working in our area who aren’t stressed by exams and papers, who are going about their daily lives, and who aren’t between the ages of 18 and 25. It’s “greener” than using a car, and it keeps us in touch with the world beyond our two campuses.

— Emily Hartwell
Freshman, Journalism

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