Photo by Taylor Soule, photo editor
Dub Bus: A staple for many weekends at Drake University.
Friday nights for one Drake senior continue to be a source of entertainment, even while he’s working.
Every Friday night, Drake University senior, Brad, gets behind the wheel of a small, yellow school bus with “THE DUBLIN” scrawled across its side. As he starts the bus, he starts his night of work, entertainment and frustration.
Brad is the driver of the Dublin Bus, aka the “Dub Bus.” He drives a loop around campus to pick up patrons of The Dublin, a bar just east of campus.
With a simple phone call, patrons can be picked up for free (tips are accepted though). Brad can drive to anywhere in the Drake neighborhood. He’s just “not supposed to go to other bars” even though his main stops are around Peggy’s Tavern, Dublin, Greek Street and 36th Street.
The ring of a cellphone, answered promptly with “Dub Bus,” remains a constant throughout the evening.
“I’ll be there in 10 minutes,” Brad says to an anonymous caller.
“Hey, it’s the Dub Bus, I’m outside of Paul Revere’s (Pizza) right meow,” he says as he pulls up to his destination.
The first round of passengers he picks up is a group of young men discussing their Friday night exploits. Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” comes on over the radio. Brad turns it up and sings along.
The interior of the Dub Bus looks like any other small school bus. The seats comfortably seat two people, three if the space is needed. Officially, there is no maximum capacity posted on the bus, but going by the two-per-seat rule, the bus seats 14, 21 if the three-person rule is in force.
Brad said he tells everyone to sit down when they are on the bus.
“Do not stand, unless you have to,” Brad said. He warns passengers because his driving “will make them stumble.”
He recounts an incident when one girl did not sit down. In the warmer months, Brad said the bus is not air conditioned, and one night, when the bus was filled to capacity, a girl was standing near the front of the bus. The girl fell and her hair got caught in the fan attached to the dashboard. Brad then had to “saw her hair off with a utility knife.”
“I felt really bad,” Brad said. “She was terrified.”
The stench of stale beer and sweat stews on the bus with a constant flow of passengers coming in and going off. Even in the dark, layers of grime and dirt caked onto the floor are visible. When Brad takes a sharp turn, the garbage can moves from its spot in the front of the bus and tips over. A can of Keystone Light falls out and rattles around.
That garbage can has been through a lot. Brad remembers when a first-year puked in it and then had to clean it out.
Through the night he makes his loop picking up passengers. At one point, he stops in the Walgreens parking lot at University Avenue and 31st Street. He waits for a while. He takes a bite of a brownie snack when he sees his new passenger sprinting toward the Dub Bus.
The new passenger gets on the bus panting and directs Brad to the house he was supposed to pick them up at. Instead, a group of about 10 people start walking toward the bus.
Once the group enters the bus, the man who sprinted began to dance and asked to turn up the music. Brad obliged.
His busiest hours are between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. After that, he said, most people start walking home to “sober up.”
Brad said the Dub Bus is a good alternative so people don’t have to walk.
“I would rather have people on this bus than driving,” Brad said.
His night continues until bar close. With every pickup comes a new batch of passengers — many intoxicated. Friends ask other friends, “Are you gonna be okay?” Others yell, “To The Dublin!”
The noise level doesn’t bother Brad.
“My biggest pet peeve is people not listening to the schedule,” Brad said, as he honks the bus’s horn outside of a university residence hall.