Let’s be real: Everyone loathes the bus. You there, watching Curb Your Enthusiasm or pretending to enjoy Jojo Moyes’ Still Me—you’re not fooling anyone. We all know the speed bumps, FaceTimers, and periodic stop announcements ensure any entertainment you strive for is service level at best.
And the biggest problem? That passenger just greeted you with an unwarranted “Hi. Hello. How’re you doing?” They’re now sitting adjacent from you, eyes fixed in your direction. You can’t be completely sure they’re staring at you—there are plenty of sights to take in as the city wooshes by—but you’ve got this sinking feeling that they might ‘happen’ to get off at the same stop as you and discover your place of residence. In any case, you’ll spend the next thirty minutes mapping out a plan of action or uncomfortably scrolling through your poorly arranged Instagram feed (no one asked for a relevancy-based algorithm, Facebook).
The creators of BusMate, the newest companion-sourcing mobile app, hope to put that scenario to rest.
The following is a first-hand experience from one of our readers (anonymous upon request) who gave BusMate a try.
I was trying to watch the “Women Tell All” episode of The Bachelor during my morning commute to work. My route is pretty central. Passengers are packed in as we edge toward downtown. I’ve still got a good twenty minutes to go before I reach my destination.
I’ll keep the details to a minimum, as I wouldn’t want to reveal someone’s identity or solicit antagonism. But, an extremely tall individual—they had to hunch down as their head brushed the top of the vehicle—boarded the bus with three grocery bags filled to the brim.
As they approached my seat, I noticed the bags were packed with reduced fat, spicy jalapeno, refried pinto beans; they must have weighed a ton. The individual lumbered down the aisle.
Suddenly, one of the cans tumbled out of a bag, falling smack down on my foot. I was taken aback and reached for the can. Before I could get there, they’d snatched it from the ground.
“Stay away from my beans,” they said.
“I—I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to take your beans,” I squeezed out this apology as they moved to the only available seat, facing me dead on.
I’m no stranger to these lengthy and awkward bus rides. Just that morning, I’d downloaded BusMate with the understanding that it was only a matter of time before I’d use it.
Think Tinder meets Uber. Or, if any shred of your morality remains, Bumble meets RideAustin. You pay an available “Matey” in the area to join you on the bus.
Several stops later, my Matey greeted me. I’d texted her about the bean incident, so she knew to stand in the center of the aisle, blocking the stranger’s accusatory gaze.
I’ve got to say that I had a quick and comfortable experience with the app. Though, there’s always room for improvement; my Matey gabbed on about her affinity for public transit. I can’t relate and was naturally disinterested. In the future, I’ll update my preferences to guarantee I’m matched with a Matey that shares my passion for bingeable reality TV—I need to catch up on The Bachelor Winter Games. Until then, I’d give BusMate 4/5 stars.
This article was written by Holly Ratcliff, who once peered deep into a man’s soul and found the darkness within, which she then ate. Holly studied poetry at Texas State University. Her literary research is available through the Texas State Undergraduate Research Journal: “‘Too much water hast thou, poor Ophelia’: An Object-Oriented Reading of Hamlet.” Twitter/Instagram: @HollytheHare
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