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Safety and Etiquette Tips

Public Transportation Safety

One of the benefits of public transportation is that it's a safe way to travel. But like any type of transportation, there are basic safety guidelines to remember:

  • Plan your route ahead of time. If you're new to public transportation, the bus or train schedule may be confusing at first. You should plan ahead of time where you are going and how you will get there.
  • Do not run to the train. Watch your step when boarding or exiting a subway train, as there is a gap between the edge of the subway platform and the train door.
  • Listen for public announcements and follow the directions provided.
  • While waiting for a bus or streetcar, try to avoid unlit or deserted areas. Stand near others who are waiting, an occupied building, or in a lighted area until transportation arrives.
  • Never attempt to board a subway train once the doors begin to close.
  • Stand to one side to allow people to exit the subway car before you board.
  • Stay alert and hold on to railings when a bus or train is slowing down or turning.
  • When you arrive at your stop, be aware of others around you. If you feel you are being followed, go to the nearest occupied building and ask for assistance.
  • Never display money or valuables in public. Carry your wallet in an inside pocket, or a pocket that can be buttoned. Keep your purse, shopping bag or other belongings in your lap, on your arm, or between your feet. Do not leave them on an empty seat.


Public Transportation Etiquette

Being respectful of your fellow commuters will make for a more enjoyable experience for everyone. The following are examples of public transportation etiquette:

  • Offer your seat to elderly or disabled passengers.
  • If the train or bus is crowded, make sure you leave room for people to move around you.
  • Avoid using the phone as much as possible. If you do talk on the phone, try to keep conversations brief and speak quietly.
  • Do not use multiple seats for your bags or for reclining. Be considerate of other people who are boarding the train or bus and are looking for a seat.
  • Always cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
  • If listening to music, use headphones that cannot be heard by other passengers or be sure to keep the volume at a reasonable level.


Tips for First-Time Riders

Commuters enjoy the ease and convenience of public transportation, but it can take a little getting used to. Below are a few tips for first-time riders.

  • Always plan ahead. Make sure you know the route and schedule of the train or bus you will be taking. If you're riding rail, you may need to transfer from one train to another. Know ahead of time where you need to transfer.
  • Leave yourself plenty of time. Plan on arriving at your transit stop at least five to 10 minutes before your scheduled departure time.
  • Stand in the correct location. When riding a bus, make sure you are on the correct side of the street and stand up as the bus approaches to signal to the driver that you are ready to board the bus.
  • Use a commuter or express service if you want to save time. These services cost a bit more, but can get you to your destination faster. Just make sure your stop is included on the express route.
  • Bring exact change for bus fares. You can usually purchase train tickets via vending machines, which provide change. Some machines also take debit and credit cards.
  • Ride your bike. Most rail and bus services provide storage for bikes, or allow you to take your bike onboard. Double check your local transit website to make sure bikes are welcome. Find more about bikes on public transportation.

Remember, each public transit provider will have its own rules and regulations, so check with your local provider before riding for the first time.