When I told my friends I would be interning in New York City this summer, the first thing I was warned about was the commute. It can’t be that bad, I naively thought. Needless to say, on my first day home from work I took the wrong train on the subway and got lost in Port Authority.
“Don’t worry,” my mother said. “Eventually, you’ll get really good at commuting.”
After experiencing several weeks of the Lincoln Tunnel Lifestyle ™, I realized my mother was right. Now that I’ve become something of an expert, I’m graciously sharing my tips and tricks for conquering the commuter bus – and beyond.
1. Assert Yourself
Some might deem it impossible to make the 6:20 p.m. bus when work ends at 6 p.m., but trust me, anything is possible if you just believe make it a mission to get to the bus stop. I find it most effective to eschew walking altogether and simply jog through the underground connection path. This can be difficult, particularly due to the fact that these walkways are often crowded with lost tourists, or groups of teenage girls who feel it necessary to walk in a horizontal line, creating a human wall. Although this creates an issue, I remember being one of this breed long ago (or last year). One day they too will be commuters, and they will understand.
2. Come Prepared
Since a bus ride can last up to two hours due to traffic circumstances, I find it crucial to pack accordingly. My Commuter Survival Kit includes noise-eliminating headphones, a good playlist on Spotify, gum and large, dark-framed sunglasses.
3. Make Friends
I feel it is wise to spread a little good karma through the rows of bus seats. This is where making friends comes in. Often, there is congestion in the bus garage that causes my bus to be late. Although this can be annoying, one veteran commuter, a UPS guy, is never afraid to push into the garage and shout our bus number at the dispatchers until it arrives. Offering him a supportive high five ensures that he will continue this practice in the future. Another friend is the sassy lady who somehow managed to collect the cellphone numbers of several of our route’s bus drivers. Becoming friends with this lady has proven advantageous, because we can always figure out where our bus is if it’s running late. These friendships not only make for a more collegial wait, but a shorter one as well.
Although nothing can make the bus move faster once it’s on the road, these strategies have allowed me to whittle my evening arrival to a much more manageable 7:20, thus expanding my time for socializing Netflix. Follow my expertise, and anyone can master the art of commuting.