You might be surprised to find your history professor sitting next to you on your bus ride home.
For the students of Brian Walsh, assistant professor of history, this is a normal occurrence.
Walsh has been living in California for around 11 years and during his time here he has never owned a car, he said.
At first it was, as it is for most, due to a lack of funds.
However, as his career stabilized and he starting making more money, everyone around him persisted on asking him why he didn’t drive, he said.
This sparked a sort of rebellion for Walsh.
“I just liked seeing how upset people got when they’re telling me, ‘you don’t drive? You don’t have a car? You’ve got to get a car.’ I was like ‘no, you’ve got to get rid of your car,” he said.
Eleven years later, Walsh has a wife and child and they aren’t really affected by his bus riding habits, he said.
“It’s tough at times [not having a car] but I make the most of it,” Walsh said.
The financial benefits are still enough to keep him walking to the bus stop every day.
Student Kohta Nishitani doesn’t think it’s surprising to hear about a professor riding the bus.
“That’s saving money. With gas prices going up it’s cheaper to ride the bus,” Nishitani said.
Walsh lives in South Pasadena, so to get to Pierce he takes the Gold Line to the Red Line to the Orange Line.
He thinks of this in a positive light. It used to be worse, he said.
Before the Orange Line, Walsh used to take the Rapid bus down Ventura and walk up the steep hill to arrive at Pierce.
Timing is an issue though. When riding the bus, you have to start your journey an hour or two before those with cars.
“I do think I get up way too early [to make it to class on time], around 4 a.m.,” he said.
While riding the bus he gains a lot of extra time, time he uses to grade papers, tests, and read the paper.
“Sometimes I see former students and current students riding the same bus,” Walsh said with a laugh. “It makes grading tests a little challenging.”
One concern for those riding the bus is safety and strangers trying to bother or talk to you.
“I was on the Orange Line when a driver got stabbed in the face, and a few of my students were on the bus too,” he said.
He was falling asleep when he heard something, he saw a man in the back cutting his own face open with a knife and smearing the blood on the windows.
When the bus driver asked if everything was OK the stranger walked up and stabbed him in the face.
The man had carved the word ‘haven’ into his stomach and began to flick his blood all over the passengers, including Walsh, he said.
“There are some weird encounters on the bus, cause there’s all sorts of people on the bus, especially people that don’t have money, but it’s totally worth it,” Nishitani said.