03 September 2008

thRee R's

This experience was very unexpected and unpredictable for me. I began the assignment by riding the bus, and that was quite the adventure.

I intended to ride to Friendly Center and have an enjoyable afternoon shopping, but instead I spent my entire afternoon (3:00 until 6:00) learning about the GTA bus system. We ended up riding route 9 on Summit Ave for the entire route, which lasted for aproximately and hour and a half. Way way way too long to be on a city bus, but something I am very glad happened because it definitely changed my entire experience.

I noticed immediately that my riding partner, Tiffany Garber, and I were definitely the minority, with the majority of people being African American. I was thankful for this because after completing the reading, I felt like I could connect much more with the students involved in the sit-ins. I think it gave me a much more realistic perspective of what they went through and how they must have felt.
Another thing I found very interesting after I read was the idea of how hard and long African Americans fought for equal rights on the bus systems, and today, they are the ones who predominately use the buses. It's interesting to see how the white population of those days were so opposed to something as simple as sharing a bus, and now Whites barely use the bus system.
Something that stood out to me in the reading was where it talked about being a part of a situation, and physically "sitting" there, as opposed to hearing or reading about it. It brought to my attention the difference it really makes. I would have never known how it actually felt, and the true reality of riding the GTA bus if I had not physically sat there and rode the bus. I would have lived on with my common misconception of the reality.
I learned a lot from this experience. First of all I know I have nothing to be scared of, although I will always be cautious. I learned that if you unfamiliar with something the only way to become familiar is to try it yourself. I realized how important public transportation is to so many people, and how much they rely on it for their everyday life. I also learned that you should never be in a rush when using the GTA.


Hannah said...

My experience with this project was similar to yours...except I was on the HEAT bus for an hour trying to get to the bus depot, which was a COMPLETE waste of time. Anyway, I agree with you. I would not have been able to even come close to understand what the four A&T college students must have felt. I really appreciate your honesty concerning the "racial ratio" on the bus that you were on as well. You're right; you have to physically be in a situation like that to somewhat understand someone else's struggle, as opposed to just reading or hearing about.

scotto said...

I like reading your observations from the time spent on GTA. Having just returned from riding the metro (train) in Paris for 5 days I can relate. The US is way behind in there thinking about mass transit. I think some of you may have a future in implementing this into our culture, which would be awesome.