At Grand Valley State University, riding the bus is a full contact sport, especially for those students who ride Route 50.

First, the rider must strategically place themselves among the horde of students anxiously waiting for the next bus to arrive, trying to get as close to the front of the crowd as possible without appearing to cut. Some students have mastered subtle elbow jabs and are pros at boxing out people behind them.

Once on the bus, the rider must gracefully duck and dodge the many backpacks, feet and elbows of their fellow passengers. However, for the riders who get stuck standing, be prepared for lots of contact with the person in front of you, and behind you, and beside you. The 50 can make sardine cans look roomy.

Getting off the bus can be a whole other challenge. If the rider is stuck in a window seat, or worse, at the back of the bus, the rider must squish and squeeze their way to the nearest door. Sometimes the bus driver pulls away before the rider has even made it halfway to the exit, so best of luck to you.

The bus is vital for students though, especially those who don’t have cars on campus and those who need to save money on gas. But even for those students who have a tight budget, it’s daunting to arrive at a bus stop running slightly behind schedule and see the crowd of students you’re forced to compete with to get on the next bus. To get to class on time, sometimes you have to be willing to fight a little dirty, or fork over the gas money and drive yourself.

As stated in Stephanie Brzezinski’s article “The Rapid seeks student input on Laker Line,” more than 11,000 people currently utilize Route 50, making it the busiest route. Over the past 10 years, the route has experienced a 693 percent growth, according to the Laker Line study.

With the university’s growth in the recent years, GVSU is working with The Rapid to better accommodate the number of students riding this route. The Laker Line is currently in the planning stages and would help students travel between the Allendale Campus and areas in downtown Grand Rapids.

On Oct. 14, students can attend the final report on the Laker Line Study at the Richard M. Devos Center’s University Club from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a chance to hear the recommendations The Rapid has for the new transportation solution. This is an opportunity for students to share feedback with The Rapid or to show off battle wounds from their last ride on Route 50. 

Students who feel that changes should be made to the current bus procedures should attend and voice their concerns and give suggestions for improvement. The buses will only become more cramped if changes aren’t made soon.