Humor | Pittsburgh Port Authority Bus Alignment

By Allison Dantinne, Senior Staff Columnist

It’s midterms season and Mercury is now in retrograde, which means I can’t wrangle my brain and get it to do anything meaningful right now. It also means that I’m standing outside and I’m thinking about the personality of each bus that passes. Yes, buses have personalities. And yes, I’m only choosing a select few that have distinct vibes or that I have personal feelings about. Shut up. I’m tired and correct.

Lawful good: 71A — the 71C’s better twin. And yes, I know they technically go different places, but for a Pitt student’s needs, they can be treated much the same. Nothing crazy happens on this bus. You will have a seat to sit in. You will listen to your podcast. You will arrive at your destination with ankles still intact. It is reliable. It is good. One time I took a 71A back to Oakland from Downtown and the bus was decorated for Christmas. There was even an inflatable in that little barred-off bit where you’re not allowed to put anything. Lights twinkled. Music from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” played, reminding me of my youth.

Neutral good: 61A. This bus reliably transported me from my placement in a third grade classroom in Squirrel Hill back to Pitt. The placement, which ended at 11:30 a.m., gave me only 30 minutes to make it to my noon class. I was only late once, and that was due to a minor car crash a block or so in front of us. And I missed class entirely once, but that was due to my own heartbroken crying, which the 61A allowed me to partake in with minimal judgement, even though all my things were spread across the floor. This is all to say that the 61A has taken a lot from me in stride, and is a good, reliable friend.

Chaotic good: 75. It’s the bus that takes us to formals and the occasional club holding an underground rap show that will make someone turn to you — in this case, me, a woman in jeans, a patterned button-down with a contrasting cardigan and oxfords — and say that you look like you’re gonna audit this place. Like the friend who pregames too hard and doesn’t even make it to Steel Cactus, the 75 is unreliable, but well-meaning. It will take you to Aldi, then leave you standing across from Aldi, discount ice cream melting. It will take you to Goodwill, then let you wait 35 minutes for the next bus, which is the exact amount of time a person needs to regret buying a pair of men’s trousers that just might work with a belt. We applaud the 75 for trying.

Lawful neutral: 61D. It takes you Downtown. It takes you to Squirrel Hill. It takes you even further to the Waterfront, where we all likely spend at least 10 hours of our first week at Pitt, inside the Target, buying the shower curtain liner, dish detergent and cheap pair of white sneakers we forgot at home. The 61D has served us all well. It has done its job and nothing more, and for that, I respect it.

Chaotic neutral: P3. Does anyone know when this bus comes? Where it goes? What it does? Not me, and I had to research it. I’ve gotten on the P3 and watched the entire bus empty at Bigelow. One day, I’d like to ride this entire line all the way to the end, just to see where it goes. However, I fear that both ends of this line are some Nightvalean world — that a lone, loose hand may crawl toward me, and maybe the grass would not be grass and the sky would not be sky, but rather an intricately painted canvas held precariously over my head — and I don’t think I have the emotional capacity to handle such a reality. So I will continue on in blissful ignorance.

Lawful evil: 28X. I feel like Regina George every time I think about this bus, like the only thing I can do is cut out a picture of this bus, glue it into a scrapbook and caption it “fugly.” Which is to say, it’s good when it’s useful and beyond obnoxious when it’s raining and you’re looking to take a bus home and you think a bus is coming, but then you remember it’s 9 p.m. on the dot and the only bus that’s coming is the 28X. But in terms of getting you to the airport, it does do that, so I have no complaints. It follows the rules, yes, but I do not like the way it follows the rules.

Neutral evil: G31. The G31, a bus that does not go through Oakland, and thus should be generally irrelevant to a Pitt student, is only on this list because it’s the bus that fell into the sinkhole. How do I know the specific bus it was? Because I relate to this bus. It was just sitting there, at a red light, minding its own business, and then the earth opened up underneath it. I read about that and I thought, “Wow, me.” Not in that super cool and fake-interesting way of relating to something bad to hide feelings of low self-esteem with self-deprivation, hurting yourself before anyone else can, but rather, that’s what anxiety feels like. Like you’re the bus and not being able to sit in your usual seat in lecture — because someone else decided to mix it up today — is the sinkhole. I used to describe my anxiety as the sale section of the Forever 21 in the King of Prussia Mall, but now I’m pretty sure it’s a G31 in a sinkhole. I mean, it followed the rules of gravity, but no one expected the chaos of sinking into the road.

Chaotic evil: 71C. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is the Florida of buses. Every time I get on one in Oakland, it’s standing room only, and I’m standing next to some yahoo with their laptop open, sending me dirty looks every time I bump into his precious MacBook Air, as his livestream of SportsCenter must not be interrupted. Just use your phone and stop sending me nasty looks. It’s a bus. AppleCare doesn’t cover bus-related injuries. Sophomore year, I fell off of a 71C right before Thanksgiving break and broke my ankle. Just fell right off it. From bus to pavement. This bus has bad mojo. The vibes have been personally checked by yours truly and they ain’t right. Just take the 71A whenever possible.

True neutral: Riding a Starship robot containing a buffalo chicken wrap and a pineapple cup. Yes, these robots are dumb and always look ready to tip over at any point, despite having a comprehensive track of multiple wheels. Sometimes they just stop right in front of me, as though I am the obstruction on the sidewalk. So hop on that sucker and ride it off into the sunset. By utilizing those evil little bots — containing my typical late-lunch selection — for your own transportation purposes, you are being good, which when combined, results in a completely neutralized transportation option. And no, it is not chaotic. It is the future.

Allison Dantinne primarily writes satire and humor for The Pitt News. Write to Allison at [email protected].