El Camino College should operate a bus system designed for students


(Kenya Garcia | Special to The Union)

The bus doors flew open and I stepped inside, oblivious to what would happen in the next 7 minutes.

For the first time during my academic career at El Camino College, I took the bus that stops at El Camino Village. Despite my anxiety and overthinking possible scenarios, I took a deep breath and boarded the bus, sitting in the nearest empty seat.

Next thing I knew, my friends who boarded the bus with me were pacing across the bus, muttering words. I asked one of my friends what was going on and what she said caused me a minor panic attack.

We had taken the wrong bus. We asked the bus driver if he could drop us off at their usual bus stop, but he couldn’t because the bus had its own route.

Four girls, riding the bus late at night after a long day at school. Two men kept staring directly at us as we formulated a plan upon arriving at the next stop.

One of the men kept staring at my friends and I as if he was hinting at something. Initially, I did not give it much thought. My friend to my right spoke to her sister in Pashto, their native language. I could only understand bits and pieces of the conversation because panic was coursing through my ears, making it difficult to cope.

We were dropped off at another bus stop. The area appeared familiar, but the dim lights of the stores made it difficult to identify. I then remembered that my house was just down the street from this stop. I told my friends and we all let out a sigh of relief.

As we walked, the three girls continued to talk about the bus ride. I made an effort to ignore them but was unable to when one of my friends mentioned that there was a guy on the bus who was filming us as we were pacing around on the bus.

She told us he was filming my friend, who was sitting in front of me on the bus and he was laughing as he recorded.

We were devastated to learn that our faces were captured on the phone by a stranger we had never met.

Over the semester, students at El Camino College have been advised by the Campus Police to be aware of their surroundings due to recurring suspicious activity on campus.

Throughout the current semester, students at El Camino College have been advised by the campus police department to be aware of their surroundings due to suspicious activity by individuals who may or may not be El Camino students.

As an 18-year-old student who studies late and has friends who take evening classes, it’s dark by the time we return home.

In the Spring 2020-2021 school year, 79% of El Camino College students attended evening classes. 29.7% of students were between the ages of 17 and 19, with 52.1% of them being female. Based on these demographics, any student could have been a potential target.

Due to rising gas prices, many students may have shifted to taking the bus to save money on gas. However, public transportation allows strangers with sketchy backgrounds to approach students boarding a bus.

The incident taught me the importance of public safety. In my defense, I’ll never find out what happened to the video the man recorded on the bus, and I’ll be left wondering what if.

To prevent students from ending up in the same situation as I did, El Camino College should establish a bus system that only serves the El Camino College community and assists students who unintentionally board the wrong bus.

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