The first thing you’ll notice at the big university is the daunting bus system.; the Rutgers buses is something that’s for sure. Freshman and first time transfer students usually are caught off guard their first semester as the shuttle system is unlike anything they’ve encountered before. Many resort to sprinting across the campus when all they had to do was wait for the next bus. Take a deep breath and relax. Never walk too much, there are buses everywhere, you paid for the shuttle service, so use it! No need to run, buses are constantly coming and going. Most veteran students will tell you the buses are either a hit or miss, but with some easy to implement tactics, you can approve your odds of getting to where you need to be on time while reducing the chances of you being stranded in the cold to wait another 10-20 minutes for the next bus.
Avoid the EE Bus whenever possible
It’s dirty, the air condition leaks wetting the seats, and you have people who clearly aren’t students hopping on board for free rides. I’ve seen it all – a woman asked me for money on College Ave to see her mother in the hospital when there was a cop right there, a guy who looked like a pimp, and a homeless bum who was sleeping in the back. In a nutshell, you have a lot of shady looking people boarding the bus, so unless you have to go to George street or the city, take another bus to go Douglas.
Don’t use the Next Bus app
It is very inaccurate, especially on the weekends. I remember checking it and it would say a bus was coming in 30 minutes. After about ten, I would check again, and it would then say 40 minutes later. Every time I would check, the time only increased.
Next Bus is okay on the weekdays, but not on the weekends. Still, you’re a thousand times better off using the RU dots site. If you go to any bus stop where they have real time info like Livingston or College Ave, there’s a screen that provides real time info of the buses that are accurate. It also displays the RU dots website, use that instead of the app.
Get off on the First stop on Cook/Doug to get to College Hall
The newbie will wait for the bus to complete its full route, going around the entire campus, but the seasoned veteran will get off on the first stop and enjoy a brisk walk to college hall. You pass by it right when you enter, it’s the one with the black dungeon gates, you can’t miss it. IF you’re a science major, you’ll most likely have a lab there. Good luck, they stink.
The good thing about this campus is that it has many stops, so you should not have to walk much here. Use a GPS or maps on your phone to track yourself, and you’ll see where you need to get off.
After night classes on Livingston, go to the first bus stop, not the student center
Rather than waiting at Livingston Student Center, it’s better to just walk the extra few minutes to the first bus stop where all the restaurants are. This way, you beat the crowd, because it’s likely to be jam packed at the student center.
Avoid Busch at night
It is the worst campus to be during this time, but if you have to then try to get to the ARC stop or the student center. The stop by the physics lecture/tutor building is terrible, you’re better off walking to the next nearby stop.
Show up at stops on the hour
Technically, there’s supposed to be a bus every 15 minutes at every stop. While that most likely isn’t true, being there on the hour usually works, because those are the times they usually arrive. Normally, they come every fifteen minutes after the hour, so being there a little bit early will help you catch that early departure.
Play Games or Listen to Music while Riding
The atmosphere can be very depressing being squished into the crowd, so listening to some good tunes or a game can help you get through the terrible ride.
Stand By The Bus Driver if Crowded
You’ll have an easier time versus trying to slither through the packed bus. Also the the safety poles are better instead of standing in front of someone awkwardly. The Rutgers buses have the best drivers.
Avoid the Back Seats
I can’t tell you how many bums, hobos, and smelly kids I encountered there. Some of the weirdest people I’ve seen all hang out in the back. There are also just some snobby loud mouth schmucks who don’t know when to shut up who invite everyone on their conversation. Just stay away from there, sit in the side seats. The Rutgers buses are filled with crazy people in the back.
Going to Liv or Busch? Take the connecting bus before College Ave
If you’re coming from the city or Cook and need to go to Liv or Busch, rather than getting off at College Ave, get off at the stop right before it. There you can catch the connecting bus and go straight to your destination rather than going around to College ave and wait.
When in doubt, go to College Ave
Sometimes you just can’t take it, and when that happens just go to college avenue. You’ll be at peace, because all the buses make their stops there, and they give plenty of time to hop on board. It’s a favorite among students and for good reason. The Rutgers buses aren’t fucking around.
Let us know what you think about Rutgers buses in the comments below!
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"Mr. Luthra, MBA, BFA, is an author and artist who wishes to help others avoid the common problems he faced in school. He feels colleges these days don't adequately prepare students for success, and so wants to equip them with the knowledge to succeed and make the best out of their college experience.