Two students waiting at the bus stop and chatting
March 7, 2019
3 mins read

A commuter's guide to actually enjoying bus rides

The UBC Life Commuter Guide

I actually enjoy my bus rides. This is coming from someone who commutes around 400 hours annually and is a loyal advocate of the back of the 99 B-Line.

In this blog post, I gave you tips on how to overcome some major causes of bus headaches.

Now, let’s buckle in for the next level. First, consider how much time you spend commuting every week, every month, every year.

Those hours don’t have to be a drag! Follow this guide and maybe—just maybe—you’ll learn to love ‘em as much as I do.

How to actually be productive on the bus

Ugh, 40 hours per month commuting? These hours could be spent studying instead. (I know you probably don’t say that...but think about the time value!) Let’s kill two birds with one stone.

Tip #1: Download your readings.

Got some reading to do for class? Download them as PDF files on your computer, and whip ‘em out on your bus ride. (Be nice to your eyes and make the font bigger!)

Tip #2: Review course material.

What better time to test your knowledge of course material than when you’re on a bus with no internet access or textbook space?

Open a notepad on your phone and type out recent course material, purely from memory. It’s a nice way to review (and be ready to earn participation points when you arrive at UBC).

A UBC student studying course material on the bus
Tip #3: Listen to an audiobook or podcast.

This paragraph is not sponsored by Audible, but it is sponsored by the rich knowledge I earned from listening to audiobooks on long rides.

There’s a sea of valuable content out there! Whether you enjoy educational podcasts, audiobooks from your favourite author, or something your co-worker Joe recommended to you at the water station, you can feed your mind. This is how I listened to the entirety of The Power of Habit!

How to enjoy solo rides without wifi or data

I refuse to pay for data on my phone, so I’ve had to find some ways to enjoy my rides without internet access. Thankfully, it ain’t so bad!

Tip #1: Sign up for content email lists.

Many email lists out there, like The Hustle (my personal favourite), deliver awesome content straight to your inbox. It usually loads in my email automatically, so I can open it with or without wifi! It’s a great way to read fresh and meaningful content and start your morning off right.

Tip #2: Create a killer Spotify playlist.

You know those dramatic movie scenes where the character gazes longingly out the window as the outside world passes by? That’s me when I listen to my Spotify playlist on the bus.

It’s like having a dance party, a moping session, or attending a concert...except in my own head, bobbing ever-so-slightly so I don’t embarrass myself.

P.S. There’s a Spotify student rate, which only costs $5 per month for Spotify Premium instead of $10. Yay for perks!

Tip #3: Play some phone games.

Self-explanatory. (I reached the 300th level of Candy Crush this way.)

How to use bus rides to recharge

When bussing back home from a busy day where you’re mentally/physically drained, these tips are here to rescue you.

Tip #1: Take a nap!

Sounds simple, right? As I hug my backpack and let the bus rock me to sleep, I doze off like a baby.

Just make sure not to sleep past your stop… either set an alarm clock, or get a reliable friend to wake you up when it’s time. (Once, I slept on the bus until it reached its terminal point, and I had to walk 30 minutes to get home. Don’t be me.)

Tip #2: Journal.

Using Journey or another writing app, journaling is a great way to recharge mental energy.

Things going through your mind? Write it down! Want to keep a fresh memory that’s still bubbling your insides? Now’s the time. Needing to vent about some sweaty bus rider who can’t keep their armpits out of your nose? Let it out, tiger.

Tip #3: Look out the window.

We sometimes take this beautiful city for granted. No matter the bus route, you’re bound to pass some beautiful scenery! Enjoy the sunset, spot some new restaurants, or fall into a daydream.

Sometimes, we just gotta let our minds wander. Just don’t miss your stop.

Bus rides are actually pretty awesome

I hope that, by following these tips, your commutes will feel less commute-y and much more exciting! Don’t believe me? You’re not allowed to roast me until you try everything on this list.

Happy commuting!