words Al Woods
There are some really great reasons to take the bus. It’s a lot cheaper when compared to all the money it takes to pay for and maintain a car. Schedules are predictable, and it can also get you to your destination faster if you live in a big city. Not to mention, it’s better for the environment. However, that doesn’t mean it’s all good.
For example, in Florida, bus accidents are actually quite common, which might make you think twice about taking the bus. Not to mention, the bus can be a dirty place, and being surrounded by strangers might make you feel uncomfortable.
Don’t let the bad scare you away from all the good that can come from taking the bus! Here are some tips that will make taking the bus a little more enjoyable, which will encourage you to use your bus pass more often.
Know Your Route Ahead of Time
One of the most important things you need to do before you hop on the bus is plan your route ahead of time. If you don’t know your stop, you don’t know how many stops are in between, and you don’t know approximately how long it will take you to get there, you’re likely to miss your stop altogether.
Fortunately, knowing your bus route is a lot easier today that it was years ago. By all means, grab a paper map, but you also have the option of using Google to plan your route. Not only is it an easy way to pinpoint your destination, you can add stops to your route, and you can even watch yourself move in real time. You’ll never miss your stop again!
Be Ready to Pay
There’s nothing more annoying than getting stuck behind someone who’s getting on the bus, but isn’t ready to pay. Do yourself, everyone waiting to get on the bus, and everyone who is already in a seat a favor and be ready before you approach the door.
That might mean purchasing a bus pass ahead of time, it might mean having an app ready to go on your phone, or it might mean digging exact change out of your pocket while you’re waiting on the sidewalk. No matter how you’re paying, just make sure you’re ready so you can get on the bus and find a seat smoothly.
Guard Your Belongings
It can be nerve racking to sit on a bus surrounded by strangers you’ve never seen before and may never see again. This anonymity can encourage some people to behave badly, so it’s important to know how to keep your belongings safe when you’re on the bus.
Keep your bag, purse, or backpack on your lap. Avoid putting it on or under a seat where it can easily be reached by someone else. Hide important valuables inside your bag where they can’t be seen, and keep your wallet and your phone out of your back pocket. Not only are they easier to steal out of a back pocket, they are also more likely to fall out and get picked up by someone else.
Be Ready to Entertain Yourself
Taking the bus the first few times can be entertaining, but as you learn the route and you just want to get to your destination, you will find yourself bored just staring out the window. Not to mention, if you look occupied, you’re a lot less likely to have to force yourself to engage in small talk with other passengers!
A few tips for entertaining yourself on the bus include:
- Play a game on your cell phone
- Text or browse the internet on your cell phone
- Bring a book or a magazine to read
- Listen to music
- Write or draw in a journal
Push Yourself to Start a Conversation
Although there is nothing wrong with having days where you just want to keep to yourself, you may find that your journeys on the bus are more enjoyable if you chat with the other passengers at least every once in a while. It can even be a great way to make a new friend, if you notice another passenger often takes the same route as you.
Learn how to start a conversation with a stranger. Then, encourage yourself to lean over and say hi whenever the mood strikes you. You may just discover it’s one of your favorite ways to pass the time on an otherwise boring bus ride.
Keep Things Clean
Riding on the bus can make you anxious for many different reasons. One common reason is cleanliness.
It’s true that buses are cleaned regularly, but that doesn’t mean surfaces are wiped down at every stop. If you’re worried about germs, especially in the winter when germs are the norm, don’t be afraid to do a little cleaning yourself.
Bring antibacterial products and wipe down the seat before you sit down. Wipe off the handles you’re likely to use, and bring hand sanitizer so you can clean your hands when you’re getting off the bus.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
One of the best things you can do, whether you’re on a bus or you’re going about your daily life, is to be aware of your surroundings. It can keep you out of danger, and it also has the potential to put your mind at ease.
Say hi to the bus driver and pay attention to his driving. If they seem distracted or they are driving erratically, get off at the next stop and try a different bus. Don’t be afraid to move seats if you feel uncomfortable sitting next to someone, and stay away from tension-filled areas of the bus.
It’s true that you don’t get a lot of privacy on the bus, but it can be a great way to get where you’re going. Don’t get discouraged because you’re worried about being uncomfortable. There are many things you can do to make your next bus ride more enjoyable.