The "What Moves You" contest came to an end last Friday, February 1st. We thoroughly enjoyed reading each of your unique and interesting stories about your travels to campus, and we applaud you for choosing healthy and sustainable transportation options!

The entrants' whose stories received the most votes in each sustainable transportation mode (public transit, walking, bicycling, carpooling and vanpooling) will receive $5 Jamba Juice gift cards. Gonzalo, a PhD student who rides his bike to UCLA, is the grand prize winner of the contest, and will receive an additional $50 credit on his BruinCard.

Congratulations again to all the winners! Here are the wonderful stories shared by our winners:

Gonzalo

I was riding my bike to campus through Santa Monica Blvd., and when I stop in an intersection a bird dropped a "present" over my hand. It was so big it covered it all up in a not-so-nice way. I thought to myself "cool way to begin the day". I told some friends about it and they told me it is a signal of upcoming good luck. "Yeah right" I thought.

Later that day I received a letter from my government back home: I had just been selected for a full 4-year scholarship that would cover all my expenses at UCLA.

Well, guess my friends weren't that wrong.

Maddie

After two years of living in Los Angeles, I decided to sell my car. I was living in Koreatown and it was more of a headache to find parking than the benefits provided to me by owning the car. In my now year-long adventure as a car-free Angeleno, I've never been happier with my decision. I used to bike to the 720 stop, put my bike on the bus and then bike up Beverly Glen to my office. One sad day, I got off the bus and my bike wasn't there. Someone had stolen it off the bike-rack. I was devastated! I loved that bike, it was blue with yellow tires and yellow handlebar tape and a great Brooks saddle I bought myself upon obtaining my Masters in Urban Planning from UCLA. I did get a new bike a couple months later and was elated to be able to shorten my commute via bike. I also got to see and greet some people I would see every morning. This is one of the many advantages of bike commuting - being able to interact with people, smiling and saying hello. While I was happy with my new bike, I was sad to have lost a great saddle. Unbeknownst to me, my boyfriend wrote a letter to Brooks on my behalf. It explained how dedicated to cycling I am, professionally and personally. Last month, a brand new Brooks saddle showed up at my house, free of charge! This was the most excellent reprise to having something I loved stolen. It helped me believe in the power of bike companies and reinvigorated me to people made me realize, once again, why I love biking, walking and riding transit to get around Los Angeles. Look how pretty that beautiful brown leather saddle looks on my bike!

Kevin

Biking, Skateboarding, and Big Blue Bussing are the best modes of transportation in Los Angeles.In fact, I do all three and have interesting stories about them all.

Biking

I entered the Diamond Dash scavenger hunt last year which took us all over Westwood Village in the hunt for various clues to win a $20,000 ring. I ended up riding my beach cruiser so hard that the chain fell off!

Skateboarding (Well, actually longboarding)

This is the most fun way to get around Santa Monica and Venice Beach. However, watch out for the crazy Westwood drivers! I have been hit twice in the village.

Big Blue Bus

The 1 and 2 are my best friends. They get me to and from work almost everyday. I call them my personal drivers. One morning when I was going to work, I was the only person on the bus for the entire trip! And since you mention it, I did run into a long lost friend on my bus ride home from work just yesterday!

Safe travels,

Kevin

Nidhi

Gonda Van Hangout:

Never believed waiting can be anything more than tiring.

Returning from the school, late in the evening, tired, hungry, the thought of evening van was so comforting in the recent cold of LA. Waiting for over 15 minutes, I was about to lose patience and just start to walk back, luckily i was joined by two friendly girls. Now hoping the van will come anytime as its more people. More minutes just passed, chatting with them, made friends, but where is the van! 40 minutes passed and joined by this naive guy waiting for the bus no longer running at that time. We convince him to call.. and magic... its there! We became happy too early, just to find out the van was already full! Tired of already waiting to long, none of us had the courage to walk now. We just got a chance to talk more. If I'd simply walked maybe I'd  been peacefully been having my dinner. Finally the van comes after an hour! Goes all around the world and drops us all at the stop in the very end. Feeling foolish but in the end, I guess it was not too bad after meeting these wonderful people... :)

And as I told them too.. the only good thing that came out of this was that I met them! Wait can be fun!

Maheshkumar

Last Friday, I watched a woman on Charles E Young Drive start running for a Bruin bus at the corner of Public Health School and Dental School, a block and a half away. "She'll never make it," I thought. I stayed to watch. She made it. The driver waited. "Nobody's ever going to hear about the good bus driver," I thought.

Some 90 percent of bus riders in the Westwood say they're happy with the service they get from the Bruin bus drivers here. The drivers are courteous, and though passengers sometimes are not, it's not a big deal. It's just like the rest of life. In general, my bus experience is good.

Patricia

Honestly,  it is hard to say that anyone can "like" traveling around Los Angeles with all the traffic, but with multiple modes of public transportation (especially with the help of UCLA Transportation) like carpool, vanpool, buses, and walking, I can say that it is possible! Just to get around campus, I  use the Bruin Bus and the UCLA Evening Van, or just plain old walking. When I want to go home, I use the vanpool. I mean, you can not go wrong with that. When seats are available, you can go home through the carpool lane in a fast manner without the hassle of driving. And then, if I am feeling adventurous, I will use the public buses like the Big Blue Bus and the Metro Rapid to get around LA to see the surroundings. I think I can narrow the funniest moment I've had dealing with public transportation with my commute with the UCLA vanpool.

When I go home, I take the vanpool since the commute is faster, cheaper and more efficient. I have taken it multiple times and every time, I fall asleep. I do not know why, maybe because the seats are so comfy. I do not know everyone on the vanpool personally, but I recognize them each time I take the vanpool. But this one time, I was really tired and knocked out right when we got  in the freeway. I woke up in the middle of the commute and noticed that the people sitting next to me were leaning, tilting their heads toward me. But then I dozed off again... only to wake up to the lady sitting next to me sleeping on my shoulder!! I let it slide since I was very tired. When we got to our stop, she woke up and did not even realize she was sleeping on my shoulder. Good times...

Gabriel

During our normal commute (Vanpool 4881 / Westminster #3) Spotted the Ghostbusters car which prompted us to sing: " If there's somethin' strange in your neighborhood

Who ya gonna call?...When the traffic is bad...who are you gonna call?  Ghostbusters!!!"

Cindy

Vanpooling rocks!  Nothing makes the 405 bearable like the camaraderie of 10 strangers who soon become family.  Vanpooling provides evening naps that allow riders to summon the strength to get through their evenings, be it to tend to their children, go to an exercise class, or go out on the town.  I know I'm not alone when I say I've made some lifelong friends from many different departments on campus just by being in the same van.  What a tremendous networking opportunity!  Together we've faced trying to get out of Westwood during big events like movie premieres, that one dreaded Valentine's Day, POTUS arrival and departures, and the passing of Michael Jackson at RRUMC.  We've also shared personal victories and tragedies: weddings, deaths of loved ones, new babies, happy hours, promotions, all while doing something good for the earth and good for our fellow Angelenos: not driving alone to work.  Long live the UCLA vanpool!

Tere

I've been riding the Big Blue Bus to work since 2008. Returning home one afternoon two men sitting toward the front of the bus caught my attention. One was facing the front of the bus (we'll call him Jim) and the other was facing sideways on the bus, toward the window (we'll call him Max). Jim and Max were both "talkers"-those people that will take any opportunity to talk to you, even if it's about nothing? Max and Jim began their chitchat & in the middle of their conversation, Max reached into the bag he had on the floor, & pulled out an electric shaver. The man began to shave his face in broad daylight, in the middle of the bus, not just sitting next to but almost facing Jim. Jim said something like "Do you know how many germs you're spreading around right now? I'm already infected!"

I felt infected too and was glad my stop was coming up soon. The bus was half empty but Jim didn't move, nor did he ask Max to move. They continued their conversation as Jim continued to complain about the germs. This whole time Max shaved his beard and mustache area looking forward as if he was standing in front of a mirror, all the while touching his face with his free hand (to check for missed spots?)

As I stared at them, at Max doing this, I began to listen to their conversation. These two grown men were talking about their beliefs in Area 51-all things alien! They both believed Area 51 existed and believed all the well-known conspiracy theories. They shared their questions with one another and stated their reasons for believing, the obvious proofs out there, the unanswered questions, politics, lies etc. They were so involved in their conversation I almost wanted to join in!

When it came time for my stop I prepared to go out the back door. Jim stopped for a second, looked outside and mentioned to Max he had missed his stop! BUT he stayed on the bus-and they rode off to Super 12 sunsets and Area 51 dreams...

Dorthea

I moved from Lawrence, KS to LA to attend graduate school at UCLA in August. When I came here, I was worried that I wouldn't have many opportunities to meet new people; I'd be busy with school, I don't already have friends here, and it can be hard to make connections with people in large cities, especially if you happen to live in the second-largest city in the US. However, my experiences in LA have somewhat allayed my fear of feeling isolated in a new place. Since I live in Koreatown, I have a considerable commute to make to get to school each day. I usually find myself boarding the 720 bus and settling in for a bumpy ride down Wilshire Boulevard, hoping desperately that a seat will eventually open up so I can park myself and my backpack full of books, snacks, and supplies for the day for duration of the 45-minute ride.

Although many transit riders are occupied with their phones, talking, playing games, or listening to music, I have found that some people are eager for conversation. One day, while riding home, I found myself in a very respectful political debate with an elderly white man, a 40-ish African-American woman wearing a beautiful hat, a young Latino man wearing a Beatles T-shirt, and a Latina woman in nurse's scrubs. The amazing thing was that while half of us disagreed with the other half, and none of us knew one another (and therefore had no particular social obligation to be kind to one another), no one raised his or her voice, no one called anyone a name, and no disrespect came out in anyone's comments. We were able to shift from that part of our discussion into a discussion of films just as easily as we had led into politics from a discussion of life in different states of the U.S. The ability of complete strangers from endless different backgrounds to coexist and converse on the bus amazes me. It makes my commute more pleasant, and it makes me happy to have moved here!

Matt

I was taking the Blue Bus number 12 going south on Sepulveda Blvd in 2008 when I noticed a woman cyclist was casually commuting along side. At every other light or stop, I would look up from my book and she would pass us with a pleasant smile on her face. In the long stretch between National and Palms blvds she could not keep pace however when I exited the bus at Palms, she slowly rode by dressed in her commuting regalia of: helmet, that Sharpie highlighter florescent yellow colored vest, blinking front and rear lights and thin, reflective strips across her back pack. In the 45 minutes that it took for me to board and exit the bus, she had a relaxing ride home, burned 300 calories, saved 30 pounds of hydrocarbons and unknowingly inspired me to start to bicycle commute. Since 2008, I have been commuting to and from UCLA.

Victor

NEW YEARS EVE in SAN FRANCISCO. What a great day to be spending as my LA friends came up to enjoy a tour of the SF festivities. We planned on using two cars to transport 10 eager students throughout the City for a good time; but our friend's parents wouldn't let him, so we ended up carpooling 10 people in an 8 seater (how naughty!). His parents think that he's going to get distracted by all the girls. First problem, but solved by walking throughout the city. We toured the shopping malls and the boutique shops, stopping only to save the girls from the drug-infused creepers and alpha-males a-howling. We spent a memorable day taking a tour of SF and it magically turns to night.

We planned to eat at Bubba Gump's like Forest Gump told us to. We parked the car near Pier 3 and everyone got out, A-team style. My friend gets a call and says that we can have a table for 12 if we could make it to Bubba Gump's by 6:30PM. It was 6:20, and our destination was...PIER 39!

We parked at Pier 3, but needed to get to Pier 39, in 10 mins. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

The guys who were all on track or cross country booked it, EASY. One problem though: the girls' boots! Those sexy, elevator accessories were to be the downfall of our shrimptastic journey, the winter of our discontent. We could not leave the girls behind, especially because of all the creepers and thugs around. It would have to be the guys to carry the team on their back; so we carried the girls on our backs.

It was terrible...the girls were not heavy, but we were all hungry. It was basically a 2 mile run with moaning and groaning. But at the end of the day, we could say that we didn't need a car to make it to dinner on time, or to enjoy our break. We needed those two dangling appendages that always carry our complaining butts.

Ivonne

I began carpooling with my husband (who also works at UCLA) last year and it has been a great experience.  The advantages of carpooling is that you save time, money, there is less stress, have companionship, and it's good for the environment!  Carpooling is a great way to get to work and back.  Unlike van pooling (which is another great way to commute), we don't have to park our car in a separate lot and wait for others to arrive before heading off.  Carpooling is more automatic and quick. We don't need to van pool since we live closer to Westwood than others who come from much farther away.  My husband usually drives me in.  This frees me up to check on my messages on my smart phone or just taking a quick nap on the way to work.  We currently carpool about three times a week, which I find is a good amount.  I wish we could do it more but my husband has decided to bike to work a couple of times a week!