Bumpy and Crowded Commute:  The Shuttle Bus At CCNY

Commuting plays a huge role in our daily lives. Whether you’re a kid being driven to middle school by your parents, or you’re taking the subway train to an in-person job interview near West 59th Street. But it can be a dreadful buffer to others until the pandemic and surge of at-home jobs taught the importance of having a buffer from home to work. The article The Psychological Benefits of Commuting to Work published by The Atlantic further explains why this buffer is so important to our well-being. Writer Gail Sheely states “ “You get a very strong feeling of two lives with the train a bridge.” The distance between those two lives is explored in a body of research loosely known as “boundary theory”. A state of mind where you transition from your home self to your work self. This transition builds friction, effectively maneuvering you between the two lives. Having an at-home job doesn’t have that friction, making the transition immediate. You’d have to switch between your two selves without any friction. That’s why remote jobs didn’t stick with many when the pandemic started to cool down. How about I start taking the CCNY shuttle bus and see how the students enjoy their commute?

The First Ride

I boarded the shuttle bus on Convent Ave, near the NAC building. The bus driver wasn’t there and the interior looked old-fashioned. I picked my seat and wondered if my CCNY ID would be checked. I asked the student in the row across from me, he pleasantly replied “No”. That surprised me since I read on the CCNY website that IDs would be checked upon entering the bus, stating ”Please note that all passengers must be prepared to show CCNY ID upon request”. I tried buckling my seatbelt, but I could only find the buckle. I glanced over the different seats to see if the strap was hidden or missing. But it seems like all the seats had that same issue. Eventually, the driver entered and started playing some upbeat, funky music. I used the app Shazam to reverse search the song: TKA- Come Get My Love. The seats were partially filled- I’d say about 1/5th of the bus was occupied. The students were either on their phones, listening to music on their headphones, or conversing with each other. This ride was a bit of a bumpy one, I was a bit worried about my safety, especially while not wearing a seatbelt. Fortunately, the ride was very short—around 5 minutes in total. I departed near 125th Street to buy art supplies at Blick Materials, concluding my first observation session.

The second ride

On Monday, the 11th, I boarded an empty bus at 10:23 am. It was a very windy day, so I expected more people to use the shuttle bus, but I was the only passenger on the bus for the first ride. Still no ID checks. After some digging between the seats, I finally found the other end of the seatbelt. Don’t know why they hid that part in between the seats rather than making it more visible. I usually buckle my seatbelts when I take the school bus in middle school. However, I do feel safer now. The driver enters and the bus heads off, playing a variety of pop songs through the radio. At 125th, more people enter the bus. Same deal as last time, the students were on their phones, a very quiet group. Back to Convent Ave near the Marshak Science Building, more students board this time. I noticed there was one student per pair of seats. At 145th, a huge crowd of students waited at the bus stop. I couldn’t see but this bus definitely couldn’t seat all of those people. The doors open, and students search for an open seat. My gosh, I was right. All the seats were full so some people had to stand between the seats. Gotta appreciate their commitment. A couple of people were waiting back at the Convent Ave stop.

I briefly interviewed a student after departing. She takes the CCNY shuttle bus sometimes, but she is glad enough to cooperate. As a commuter, she takes the 1 train to the college and listens to music on the way. She finds It more convenient to take the train rather than ride the shuttle bus since she doesn’t live within the cycle of the shuttle bus. So then I asked what brought her to ride the bus today, and she answered that she dropped some books off at the Hamilton Grange library. As we can see from the article, she takes advantage of this buffer by listening to music and sometimes doing homework on the commute.


Jerry Useem. (June 9, 2021). The Psychological Benefits of Commuting to Work. The Atlantic. https://advance-lexis-com.ccny-proxy1.libr.ccny.cuny.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:63JM-PH81-JCG7-V01X-00000-00&context=1516831.

Shuttle Bus Service. (n.d.). The City College of New York. https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/about/gettingthere