Student Unsure How Person Across From Them on the Shuttle Feels About Them


Written by: Issac Canada

One student was disappointed when the person sitting across from them only managed to answer “yes” or “no” to all of the small talk questions they prepared.
Photo by: Jessica Ma

An anonymous student on the North Campus shuttle going from the Regents Lot to Price Center last Wednesday at 11:13 a.m. reported feeling “unsure” about how the student across from them on the shuttle felt about them after several minutes of prolonged side glances with the shuttle in question featuring seats facing each other down the front.

Numerous, similar reports have been taken from students on shuttles including North Campus, Mesa, and South Campus. To date, no similar reports of nigh-human interaction have arisen from the West Campus shuttle.

The student reported that they had been looking out the window on the other side of the bus as it traveled down Voight Drive over Interstate 5. According to the student, they accidentally made eye contact with the person on the other side of the shuttle when they looked up and proceeded to play a game of conversational chicken before ending the awkward exchange by looking back at their phone. Despite this, they had nothing to do on their phone and had not yet received a response from the person they were messaging.

Students have also reported reading the same news article repeatedly and going over lecture notes on their phone for the fourth time to avoid any attempt at contact. One student even reported spending a significant portion of their data trying to find random webpages to look at while riding the campus shuttle across from someone whom they had interacted with in a class last quarter.

Several campus shuttle drivers reported that shuttle tensions have been high – people awkwardly looking at each other with both wishing for a reason to approach each other while also wanting to extricate themselves from the situation as quickly as possible. A report funded by the proceeds of parking permits found that on the typical shuttle, this experience happens four to seven times each trip. The report also suggested that the shuttle drivers routinely change routes every quarter to “keep things fresh.”

According to reports, the launch of the Spin bike share program was intended as a way to improve solitary campus transportation. While numerous reports have been made of people almost being run over by Spin bikes, there have been no reports of awkward eye contact between individuals.

Ultimately, students are being suggested to think ahead and prepare activities that they can do on their phone while waiting on the shuttle. Headphones can also be used to further isolate oneself, but should be accompanied by a visual distraction to help avoid accidentally looking at another rider. Riders are cautioned to avoid sitting next to someone else as being unaware of where the shuttle is on the route may lead to people accidentally bumping into each other when the shuttle breaks, potentially causing further awkward social interaction. An additional option for riders is to stand facing forward through the windshield, but this requires being in the front of the bus to avoid as much potential human interaction as possible.

Staff Writer at The MQ

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