A friend from church needed someone to help drop her car off at the auto shop to be fixed. This meant I would drive her car there and take the bus home because the auto shop was only open when she was at work. I was excited about this opportunity to experience life without a car and how a lot of people travel. I not only wanted to experience what it was like to not have a car (for like an hour), but to talk to people who’s daily reality is waiting for the bus. I gave myself the challenge to have at least have one conversation with someone either while waiting for the bus or on the bus. Being the very organized person that I am, I looked up which buses to take and when they left. The website is actually makes it very easy to plan a bus route. My first busing adventure came and went uneventfully. I failed in my challenge to have a conversation with anyone. Fear, language barriers, and not knowing what to say prevented me from stepping outside my comfort zone. Luckily I had a chance to redeem myself because I had to take the bus back to pick up the car the next day. I was determined not to fail in my challenge this time. I even decided not to look up the buses or times to force myself to ask people. This wasn’t much a risk because I just reversed the buses I took before. But I did have a conversation with one woman who was waiting with her 1 year old son. I engaged her about babies and how my sister was pregnant. Even if I can’t relate to having a kid, at least I can relate a little through being an aunt. Thank you sister for being pregnant so I can have things to talk about with people! It wasn’t an amazing conversation, but I tried.
But what I learned more about the bus journey was the conversation with my friend I had afterwards. To take the bus in LA it cost $1.50. I had to take 2 buses to go less than 5 miles. So if I was taking the bus to my job every day, I would be spending $6.00 a day round trip. That’s $30 a week. I definitely do not spend that much on gas week. But then I thought, I’m sure the monthly bus pass is a lot cheaper. But I found out it’s not. My friend told me that her monthly bus pass cost more than gas! How are people supposed to afford this? And what about families that ride the bus, even more expensive. Here is a perfect example of structural injustice that keeps people in a cycle of poverty. The structures in society make it so difficult for people who are already in poverty to pull themselves out. I could go on but I told myself I would make this a shorter blog post.