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On the bus

Buses are much more than a form of transportation

April 24, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST

Buses are great social playing fields. You wait for the bus. You sit down. You take out your phone or promptly put in headphones.

Every day, millions of people travel in the same direction on one vehicle. Boarding a bus is like joining a cohort. There are norms to be observed. The most memorable experiences, though, happen when the norms are broken, when something unexpected happens that forces strangers to share a common human experience, when the headphones are out and everything is taken in.

For these stories on the following pages, writers occupied the bench and bucket seats of buses in Columbia and abroad to record interactions and experiences, both recent and from years ago. Some involve the writers directly; others are mere observations.

These stories arose as these humans traveled on buses to school, to games, to unknown places
to meet unknown loves, to buy groceries, to go to wild parties. And ultimately, to go home.

Illustrations by Rebecca Reno

Softball team bus Buenos Aires Public transportation
Greyhound ride Midnight in Paris Fast times on the FastCAT
Traveling gymnastics Hi-ho, HyVee Stuck on the tracks
The Megabus Binge drinking DWI van

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