Chicago Bus Lines that Inspired Everywhere You Don’t Belong

Gabriel Bump shared this list of the bus routes he—and his main character Claude in Everywhere You Don’t Belong, his debut novel—took while growing up in Chicago and how those routes shaped his view of the city and his life.Jeffery Local, #15
We moved slow up Jeffery Boulevard, turned left before the lake, and made our way to Stony Island Avenue. I’d ride from my house in South Shore to school in Hyde Park. During the early-morning and late-afternoon rushes, the Jeffery Local, crowded with teenagers and people headed to work, felt like a hectic classroom.

Jackson Park Express, #6
I’d ride the Jackson Park from 67th Street all the way downtown and back again, moving from South Shore to Hyde Park to Lake Shore Drive to Michigan Avenue skyscrapers. If I started downtown, on Wacker Drive, headed south, I would see Chicago’s entrenched segregation unfold before my eyes. The passengers would start as a diverse blend. By the time I reached home and got off at 67th, all the faces were black.

Jeffery Jump, #14
This was the only way to shoot straight from South Shore to downtown; you could skip the stops in Hyde Park. This bus overflowed with adults leaving their neighborhood for work. The bus would ferry us along the lake and deposit the passengers at Grant Park. Moving so quick from South Shore to downtown felt like air travel, traveling between two cities.

Inner Drive/Michigan Express, #146
If I stayed at a friend’s house on the northside, I would start my journey back south on this bus. I’d find a seat in the back, put my headphones in, and try to blend into the white professionals and shoppers. I could transfer to the Jackson Park Express close to downtown.

Garfield, #55
Chicago’s famous “L” trains didn’t run near South Shore. One summer during college, I visited my girlfriend in suburban Oak Pak often. My hour-long journey northwest showed me parts of Chicago I’d never seen before. I’d take the Jeffery Local, transfer to the westward Garfield bus, transfer to the Green Line, move west and north through unfamiliar Chicago landscapes.

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