Excerpts from the ethnography of the Champaign-Urbana MTD
by Brad Vest

    The University of Illinois is a very broad collection of people and their own individual jobs. Together this collection of thousands of people working makes up the University of Illinois as a whole. These individual jobs help students in their everyday life. They help by serving them their food, teaching the students, providing advisement, providing a clean living and working environment, and also providing transportation for the students as they move about through their days. Without all these people the university would be very disorganized and just not a fun place to spend your days. But it is not just the jobs that these people do that make this university such a fun and relaxing place to live and learn. They not only do their jobs but they do them with a smile on their face making everyone's day better by just doing what they have always done.

     For this essay I will be examining the bus as a workspace. How not only the bus driver but the whole culture, attitude on the bus affects the people who use it. There is only one person who truly works on each bus, but it is a very large system that makes it work. This system includes mechanics, radio workers, bus drivers, and just the regular desk jobs.

     In the beginning of this project I thought the methods that I would have to do would be
very difficult, I thought it would be very hard to really observe people in this workspace. I thought this because I thought it was going to be difficult to really make matches between patterns of atmosphere changes on the bus. But when I started I realized that the patterns really stick when you are there to experience them first hand as they go through their changes. I observed this on many different occasions, different days and different times during those days. I really wanted to focus my observations to the changes on the bus between early morning, mid day, and late evening and how the attitude also changes between weekdays and weekends. Going into this project I decided that it would be best to observe the bus route twenty two. I decided this because it is a very popular bus and it also goes all around campus. This way I will get to observe many different people going many different places.

     The bus itself tries to portray an attitude onto its passengers by just the way it looks. The bus was made with a certain mood in mind when the makers picked out the colors and just the design of the bus's inside. The bus's seating is set up so that it accommodates not only the lone passenger but the passengers who come onto the bus in groups. They do this by having only double seats to having large row in the back and the sideways facing seats to accommodate to more larger groups of people entering the bus.

     After observing the twenty two as my field site I came across many patterns that went
along wilh how people acted on the bus. One of these patterns was the different ways people acted and went about their lives on the bus at different times of the day during the regular school week. People using the bus during different times of these regular school weekdays act and therefore make the whole atmosphere or attitude of the bus very different. I start by looking at the atmosphere of the bus on a early morning Monday, around seven thirty am. I chose this time because this is when people with early morning eight o'clock classes would be using the bus. Right away it came very noticeable to me that the bus was very quite, relaxed. People would just enter the bus and immediaiely sit down and just relax. Some people are just listening to music while others are sipping their morning coffee reading the newspaper. Its kind of like they are just trying to enjoy the moment before their day starts, just relaxing on the bus while it takes them to their destination. There are not many people on the bus at this time, and the people on the bus at this time tend to kind of sit away from each other. This may just be because there is lots of room on the bus and everyone is just kind of doing their own thing, just relaxing before their school day starts.