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How to make bus rides to campus an enjoyable experience

4 min read

From 2nd year onwards, except for specific circumstances, most APU students will move from AP House (on campus dormitory) to live in downtown Beppu. This means that we all become commuters, mainly taking buses to campus, either from Oita Kotsu or Kamenoi. In this article, I will share some hacks to make your bus rides to campus (maybe) a little less stressful, and even probably more enjoyable!

COVID-19 Updates: Passengers are required to wear mask while boarding the bus.

How to not miss the bus

Bookmark Bus Doko APU (For Oita Kotsu)

This is a website which gives information and real time updates of bus times to and from APU, specifically for APU students. Now you don’t have to walk all the way to the nearest bus stop not knowing if the bus is approaching or already passing and may have wait 20’ for the next bus. They even provide estimated arrival time at your destinations, so you can use it to arrange according to your schedule.

For Kamenoi Bus users, "Bus Dokodoko Oita" can be used.

1. Keep in mind that the bus in Japan is (mostly) on time

Let’s imagine this in your head as you read. You go to Bus Doko APU, check bus time for your ride to campus. Supposedly you plan to take the 8:19AM bus to arrive in APU at 8:38AM for your 1st period class starting at 8:45AM. Then you get to the bus stop at 8:19:40, but the bus already left at 8:19:03, without you. Does this sound familiar? I bet this happens to every APU student, at least once, in our 4 years here.

So to avoid this, I strongly recommend arriving at the bus stop at least 3-4 minutes before departure time. For buses that depart near the start of each period, you may want to arrive even earlier to get in line, secure a seat later since the bus may get very crowded. Extra buses may come as a life saver, like Oita Kotsu No. 52 from Beppu Kotsu Center, or No. 53 from Kamegawa Station, but just make sure to be ahead of time!

2. (Of course) Run for it!

I don’t think we need much explanation for this. We all have sleepless nights with unfinished work then morning classes to run. But do keep in mind, be careful, for yourself and those around you. Make sure to follow traffic rules (no red light skip, look both ways before crossing street, etc.)

How to secure a good seat

I lived in Minami Suga Iriguchi (南須賀入口) so I was lucky enough to catch 52 bus at its third stop and always get a perfect seat. But if you’re not, consider these tips:

1. Wait for the next bus

If you live near the bus’ starting point, like Beppu Station for 50-51, Beppu Kotsu Center for 52 and Kamegawa for 53, and by the time you arrive at the bus stop it already looks like everything is going to be filled up before your turn to get in. If Bus Doko APU says the next one is coming soon (sometimes you can even see the buses coming right after each other) and you’re not in a rush, then let people pass. You will be in front when the next bus arrive!

2. Walk to the previous bus stop

If your bus ride to campus is more than 20’ and you want to have a settled seat, it may be worth it to head out a bit earlier and make your way to the previous bus stop.

How to actually enjoy the bus ride

1. Be productive

How can we better make use of commute time? These hours can be used for studying instead! (I know we normally won’t think this way, but hear me out!) I often download class’ required readings to my phone/tablet to read on the way. You will definitely see a lot of eyes sticking to their notes only during exam week as we all want to make use of any pieces of time to review course materials. When I’m not rushed with class, I listen to audiobook and podcast. Whether you’re interested in news updates, educatational podcasts or books from the author you admire, there’re plenty of valuable knowledge you can feed your mind during these long rides!

Or sometimes, a quick nap is a great recharge! Just make sure not to sleep pass your stop...

2. Be polite and appreciative

Despite we mainly take APU line bus to - from campus and almost everyone on bus is APU people, keep in mind that Beppu citizens are also frequent passengers of these rides. Therefore, it is important to keep bus manners, such as no talking on the phone, no loud dicussion, no eating and so forth. If you notice a senior or someone with disability who would need a seat, don’t hesitate to offer them yours. When you get off, patiently get in line (if there is one) and wait till your turn. And when you put in ticket or tap your card before stepping off, don’t forget to turn to the hardworking driver and give him/her a sincere “ありがとうございました!”.

As much as we may have moments where we hate these heachache bus rides, let’s not forget that this is such a safe, convenient and sustainable way to transport to and from campus! I hope these tips would make your commute more exciting and comfortable!

Enjoying the scenery of Beppu city, the sea and mountains, the bus trip takes 40 minutes from Beppu Station and 15 minutes from Kamegawa Station.

Ha Phan Ngoc DOAN
Ha Phan Ngoc DOAN

Hi! I’m Ha, class of 2021FA, majoring in IRPS (International Relations and Peace Studies). On campus, I was a Resident Assistant, Teaching Assistant, APU Student Ambassador and Student Staff at APU Library. I can’t wait to share with you all my experience as a SPA member!




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