The experience of taking the Megabus home

After lugging multiple bags of luggage through various overcrowded forms of public transportation, you arrive at the West Oakland BART station. Laden down with your backpack and duffel bag, you make your way to the Megabus stop. You take a spot in the line with some time to spare before your departure and take a seat on your luggage, waiting for the bus.

Ah, the Megabus — with your blue and gold, double-decker majesty, you shuttle desperate UC Berkeley students to and from their home and school. You’re always there to save us in a pinch when we forget to book our plane ticket home and the prices skyrocket, or when we plan an impromptu trip home to visit family or friends. A journey with you is always lengthy, albeit interesting.

The bus arrives, and passengers mill to the front of the line as the driver checks off ticket numbers from his long list and luggage is thrown into the back. Once inside, everyone clambers to get a good seat on this hours-long journey to their loved ones. You climb to the second story of the double-decker, where you find all the window seats have been taken and people have placed their carry-ons on the seat next to them in an attempt to keep the whole aisle for maximum comfort.

You walk the length of the bus and timidly approach the window seat inhabitant with the kindest resting bitch face. “You mind if I sit here?” you ask anxiously. “No, of course not!” she says brightly, even though her strained smile clearly says, “I guess not.” You get comfortable, and the bus leaves very punctually.

You strike up a conversation with your seat partner and find she is actually returning home from an exotic location. Having spent a few months in Thailand, she’s now heading down to Los Angeles to visit an old friend. Alternatively, you discover you’re seated next to whom you suspect is a drug dealer or mobster because you overhear snippets of his phone conversation for his plans later that night, at which point you bury your nose deep into a book or feign sleep.

Your plan for the ride was simple: get a bunch of work done then knock out for the remaining few hours until you get to your destination.

After you lose interest in your work, you feel the onset of boredom, which you combat by munching down on snacks … on snacks … on snacks. As you’re playing a game on your phone, you stifle a yawn, which prompts you to attempt to sleep.

You settle into your seat, with your scarf as a blanket, and try to get into a comfortable position. You experiment with various stances, including leaning your head against the chair in front of you and curling your legs up against you, until you finally find a position in which half of your body hangs out into the aisle. That’s when you’re gripped by the harrowing cold of the air conditioning. You bundle up in every sweater, jacket and coat you packed and nod off, with your neck bent awkwardly.

If your ride is a late-night or overnight one, the passengers onboard will definitely want to sleep given the lulling motion of the bus. But there will inevitably be a group of passengers who feel there is no better time to blast trap music or laugh their most bellowing laughs. They become even more rambunctious following the recess at the truck stop, where they’ve picked up and scarfed down a spicy Taco Bell feast.

You arrive at your destination just when the sun is beginning to rise or the black sky is dotted with brilliant white stars. As you disembark the bus, you breathe in the air and thank the Megabus for getting you home.

 Image Source: Metro Library and Archive under Creative Commons

Contact Sravya Singampalli at [email protected].