Pitt shuttles offer wild weekend

By Olivia Garber

When freshmen Allie Bernknopf and Jamaad Abdi hopped on the 10A sometime after midnight on a… When freshmen Allie Bernknopf and Jamaad Abdi hopped on the 10A sometime after midnight on a recent Saturday, the two women weren’t going to a party — they were on one.

After setting out at 11:30 and hitting up a frat party, they and their group of friends boarded the 10A for the first time.

There was no plan, just “hop on a bus, see where it took us,” Abdi said.

They found themselves in unfamiliar waters — an upper campus shuttle that becomes a Pitt party limbo on the weekends, shuffling students from party to party, or from party to bed for the ones who’ve had enough.

Whether people were going to a party or leaving one, once they set foot on the dimly lit bus, they transformed into a loud mass where indoor voices were ignored and awkward arm dancing was requisite.

For each ride, the trip on the bus was brief but poignant. Love blossomed, friends were reunited and strangers became, well, acquaintances.

For riders aboard the 10A, which shuttles students between upper and lower campus, the bus became more than just transportation. It was the place to be.

A peculiar limbo

Most passengers on the bus fell into three types: the drunkards, the lovers and the loners. The inebriated sect was the largest — and the most raucous.

Identifying to which group a new rider belonged took only seconds. The loners were subdued — women hugging their bags close to their bodies, men with hands in their pockets.

After flashing Pitt identification, they quickly took seats in the front, turned their head away from the action, and rode quietly, anonymously.

The lovers, always in groups of two , acted as single units. From the moment they stepped on the bus, they never broke physical contact. It might have made navigating the narrow walkwayof the bus awkward, but the couples never let go of one another.

Once seated, the guy’s arm would pillow his sweetheart’s head: perhaps as a sign of affection, but more likely as a shield against the final group — the drunkards.

These party-hearty students boarded in packs.

Their state of sobriety could, in most cases, be measured by the force at which their hips gyrated to the music blaring through the speakers.

One group — whose gyrations were particularly pronounced — flocked to the back of the bus Saturday night, committing a few 10A faux pas along the way.

Cameras with flashes and feet on the seats are 10A no-nos, and the bus driver turned off the radio at one point to inform the rowdy riders of their wrongdoing.

The resulting silence was brief. Once the radio came back on, the inebriated sect sang and danced along again.

Whatever Pitt students were engaged with prior to getting on the shuttle, it seemed to have infected them with boogie fever.

When Usher’s new song, “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love,” blasted through the stereo, the bumping bass triggered an almost universal response — one that often necessitated the protective shield of the lovers.

Arms swung and fists pumped erratically. Bottoms quivered in seats. Most of the riders trembled with desire to get up and dance, but safety requirements forced them to be still from the waist down.

It would seem that a body part restricted to a few bendable joints would only move in a certain number of ways, but Pitt students are nothing if not innovative.

They pointed fingers. They raised the roof.

One guy did a one-armed worm, and one girl grasped the seat in front of her, bent over and shook her entire upper torso, much like a dog shaking off after getting wet.

For most riders, their stint on the 10A lasted about as long as the Usher song. Whether they were going to McDonald’s, Hemingway’s or home, most took the need to exit as an opportunity to demonstrate their full body range of motion.

They shimmied and swayed off the bus — not quite to the beat of the music, but close.

Several girls took advantage of the poles that ran across the sides of the seat, adding to their dramatic exit.

Of course, not all passengers aboard the 10A were lovers, loners or home-bound partiers.

One girl, who asked not to be named, was more interested in discussing the alterations to the Port Authority routes.

After expressing dismay over the Port Authority changes, she turned in her seat, perhaps to discourage the guy who seemed to be hitting on her.

The rambunctiousness waned as the night progressed.

Two sophomores, Alexa Dombkoski and Ali Holtzman, who rode the bus at two in the morning on Friday called the night “same old, same old.”

They decided to call it a night after finding Pizza Sola bursting with students.

They, along with a few other passengers still on the bus, said the 10A was pretty subdued compared to earlier hours.

By the time 2:30 a.m. rolled around, the shuttle had only one other rider remaining.

Sprawled in a seat behind the driver, he belted along with Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out”.

He didn’t get the lyrics right.