We’re All in This (Bus) Together 

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 12.04.22 PMWhen you’re riding the bus to work, your bus driver and fellow passengers can have a significant impact on your experience. Even if you’re on your phone with headphones plugged in, public transportation is a communal experience. That’s why it’s so important for drivers and passengers alike to be courteous and respectful, and realize that we’re all in this bus together.

How can we all make the bus experience a good one? Here are some tips straight from the experts – winners of the International Bus Roadeo – plus a few of our own.

  • Treat your bus driver like a friend. Greet them when you step on, say thank you when you exit, and pair it with a smile. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you…the bus driver is the person who is ultimately getting [you] to [your] destination, so try not to upset them. Be nice to him and he should be nice to you. We’re professionals,” says Gabe Beliz of Ben Franklin Transit.
  • It’s okay to ask your bus driver for help and directions. In fact, our Movability interns experienced this firsthand when we sent them out on a transit scavenger hunt earlier this month, and bus drivers provided plenty of good hints. Just remember to be aware so you aren’t holding up bus operations for too long while you ask. “Anybody that goes to a different city, they’re apprehensive to take a bus because they don’t know the system, they don’t know the route, they don’t want to get lost. I see that in [tourists’] faces. And I greet them: ‘Hello, I can help you? Take it this way, go this way. They’re amazed that I talk to them, that I help them out,” says Howard Yoder of the Central Ohio Transit Authority.
  • Get comfy on an empty bus, but make room when other passengers need a space. At the beginning of a route, you might be one of a few people on the bus. It’s easy to spread your belongings out over two or three seats. But once the bus starts to fill up, be respectful and consolidate your things on your lap or under your seat. (That means stretched-out legs and arms, too.)
  • Let passengers exit before you try to get on the bus.This one is pretty simple, isn’t it? A crowded bus is no place for traffic jams.
  • Companionable silence is the best soundtrack. Especially for an early morning commute, we don’t all want to hear your favorite metal band. Use headphones, and be mindful of the volume. The counts for singing along, too, unless you are Josh Groban! (In which case, you can ride my bus anytime.)
  • Read more tips on Capital Metro’s “Common Courtesy” guide.

Tell us in the comments about your best bus experience!

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