Michaela Williams

Michaela Williams has written 2 posts for The Digital Bullpen

Bull Runner increases number of passengers

More students at the University of South Florida are riding the campus bus system than ever before.

The Bull Runner began its first route in fall 1997, with 84,579 riders. Since then, there has been an almost 15-fold increase. Last year’s numbers totaled 1,227,682 riders, said Rick Fallin, USF transportation manager, in a Feb. 3 phone interview.

“There is a gradual trend to increase on the ridership of the Bull Runner,” Fallin said. In the past four years, the Bull Runner has increased its patronage by an average of 16.2 percent.

A boost in bus usage can be seen throughout the U.S. There was a 13.4 percent rider increase between 2008 and 2011 at Emory University, Transportation and Parking Services, wrote in an email on Feb. 9.

In addition, Miami-Dade County increased its numbers by 57 percent between 2008 and 2010 after improvements were made on the bus system, according to the U.S Department of Transportation.

As the cost of living rises, some students take the bus instead of paying for a parking pass. “I think the parking passes are overpriced,” said senior Cassandra Kendall, who uses the D bus to get to school instead of parking on campus. In 2009 an annual parking pass cost $161. Jumping eight percent to $174 in 2012, said Mary Damiano.

Some students, who live farther away from USF than the Bull Runner routes reach, drive their car to the University Mall, park at Dillard’s and take the D bus to campus.

The roads to and on campus can be packed with cars because USF is a commuter school. The Bull Runner was created to stop congestion and make it possible to come to school without a car, Fallin said.

The issue students who park on campus face is that they must find a place to park.

“I take the Bull Runner because I will never make it to my class on time if I try to find a parking spot,” said senior Katie Keller, who parks at the public health building and takes the B bus to the Marshall Student Center.

Because of the increase in ridership, three 40-foot buses and one 30-foot bus were added to the C route. The riders on the C route can account for almost half of the riders on campus and new equipment is needed to handle the load, Fallin said.

Personal expression leads to culture shock for Japanese student

Walking in to Japanese class on Halloween day, Aiko Sasaki was surprised to see students dressed in costumes.

In Japan, students attend class dressed in their best clothes, and in the United States, students are more informal, Sasaki said. Because she has been in Florida for six months, she is used to seeing students in casual clothes like jeans and T-shirts. Yet nothing could prepare her for the Halloween costumes she saw students wearing in class that day.

Sasaki is from Japan and is studying international relations at the University of South Florida. She came to USF to perfect her English.  At the same time, she is learning more about American culture and how different it is from Japanese culture.

Sasaki said the one thing that she likes about America is people have their own ideas and are confident about expressing them. “Japanese people never do that. It is not the polite way, but American people don’t care,” she said.

Sasaki is sure Japanese people have their own ideas but are hesitant to express them.

Being cautious when expressing opinion comes from Japanese culture, specifically, the way a person treats others. From a young age, the Japanese are taught to be respectful to their elders and cooperate with others, Sasaki said.

She also said that this attitude is engraved on the students, making their learning process more passive. Students concentrate on listening to the teacher and taking notes, which provides fewer opportunities for students to express themselves. Japanese students are also shy and are afraid of answering incorrectly.

“I have not expressed my opinion in class, but I will,” Sasaki said.

Breaking away from the constrained society of Japan is harder than she expected. Because of her upbringing and her naturally shy personality, Sasaki has yet to embrace the freedom that American students have, but she is excited to do so before she goes back to Japan.

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