To the people who do not move to the back of the bus

by Mallory Russell



How hard is it to take three seconds out of your life and actually look around you? Maybe, just maybe, consider that there are other people in the world besides you– and those people are behind you, also trying to get on the bus.

There is a whole bus of space, and yet you choose to plant yourself firmly in the middle of the aisle just two feet past the bus driver.


There will be other stops. You must know this. It is the basic law of bus riding: the bus travels along a set path and stops at designated bus stops to let people on and off the bus.

Another fundamental aspect of buses: there is more than one door– sometimes as many as three doors. They are located in the middle and the back of the bus. The front door of the bus is where people enter. The back doors of the bus are where people get off. That is time-tested functional design of public transportation. And yet you choose to stand in the aisle two feet behind the bus driver.

Your location could only be a result of your laziness or your stupidity. Do you even realize how much easier your life (and the lives of everyone around you) would be if you moved just ten more feet? Ten more feet and you are still very conveniently located next to an exit. Ten more feet and more people can get on the bus and, amazingly, ten more feet and countless people do not have to awkwardly squeeze around you.

Your behavior is not O.K. I have watched an old woman abandon her seat three stops before her destination to precariously wade through the herd of mindless people, such as yourself, to stand (wobble) near the exit lest she miss her stop, because she know from experience that the swarm does not even part for unsteady old ladies!

And now the underpaid overworked bus driver (who is a bus driver and not an usher) is forced to continually parrot “move to the back please” or “lets keep things moving” or “move the fuck back!”… well not the last one, but the message is that clear.

And yes, he is talking to you. You: the person who is standing in the middle of the aisle. If you moved, then a dozen people could comfortably stand on the bus. It’s bad enough that they have to stand for the next twenty lurching minutes, but thanks to your self-absorption they are forced into a game of AC Transit Jello. Each stop the bus aisle resembles more and more of a blocked artery than a vehicle. And just before the heart attack hits the bus driver again yells “move to the back of the bus!”

And unbelievably you don’t. Of course the bus driver’s words do not apply to you. You are reading your paper, or on your phone, or even just actively not giving a shit about anyone else. You don’t hear him. Or if you do, you do not move back. Of course not, that would be far too simple of a solution. Instead, you just awkwardly shuffle six inches to your left so people can precariously clamber around you and the various obstacles of backpacks and feet.

But the gauntlet is worth it. Those brave enough to have a mind of their own and a moral adherence to spatial efficiency, they are rewarded with the promise land: fresh air, windows, elbowroom, and often even vacant seats! Most importantly, they are free of people like you: the morons who stand rooted in the middle of the aisle at the front of the bus.

Mallory Russell is one of the biggest toast enthusiasts you’ll ever find, especially when avocado, nutritional yeast, and pepper flakes are involved. She is also in the midst of researching the perfect combination of cereal and alcohol.