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Travel Etiquette For Riding The Bus

by Nolan Kido
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The public bus system is often derided as the poor man’s limousine, but the fact of the matter is, taking the bus is a perfectly fine, and often more cost effective and practical solution than owning a personal automobile. If you intend to ride the bus any time in the near future you may want to read on and learn some of the appropriate etiquette for riding the bus.


The stop request buttons are often found in inconvenient locations and you may occasionally find your way barred by other passengers. Rather than abruptly reaching across to the button, simply make your need known to your fellow passenger, either by saying excuse me before you reach, or asking if they will press the button for you.

Keep all carry on items out of the aisle. It’s challenging enough to make your way down the narrow aisle and find a seat before to the bus stars moving, without tripping over someone’s backpack or stroller. There is usually overhead stowage and a section towards the front of the bus for larger items like strollers that will still keep the aisle free of clutter.

Don’t leave your luggage next to you on your seat, or sit in a way that bars another passenger from sitting next to you. Even if you don’t want someone sitting next to you, every passenger has the responsibility of sharing the bus to make sure everyone’s ride is as comfortable as possible. If you notice there is a shortage of seats, it is expected that able bodied passengers give up their seat for passengers with greater need such as the elderly, small children, and pregnant women. Unless you are a member of the appropriate group, don’t sit in chairs that are expressly designated for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Make sure you have your cash counted out and prepared prior to the bus’ arrival. There’s nothing more upsetting to regular bus riders than than being late because they had to wait for someone fumbling around for the rest of their bus fare. Even using a 20 dollar bill for a dollar journey and needing change will set everyone back several moments. Some more sophisticated bus companies like Greyhound have ticket options that do not require exact change.

A bus is an enclosed area with many people, perfect for the spread of germs and bacteria, so do everyone a favor and practice good general hygiene such as bathing regularly, washing your hands, and brushing your teeth. Also be aware of anything your bring with you that may carry a strong odor, such as a packed lunch or pungent cologne. If you cannot avoid riding the bus while ill, keep your germs to yourself, please cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

When departing the bus, make certain to take all of your possessions with you including any garbage you’ve made on the trip. Most bus stops have garbage cans, so there is no excuse for leaving your trash on the floor or seat of your bus.

The appropriate etiquette is to always ask before sitting down next to someone you do not know when riding the bus. They will almost certainly reply with an affirmative, but asking their permission first is a simple courtesy and can even help you make a new friend.

When entering or leaving the bus, don’t shove people. Be confident that the bus won’t depart while you are in line to get on or off the bus. To help everyone load onto the bus in a timely manner, directly head as far towards the back of the bus as possible. Don’t remain close to the very front part of the bus or encroach on the personal space of the driver of the bus. It is unsafe for you to be near the front of the bus, and it may also make your driver uneasy leading to unsafe driving conditions.

Bus drivers aren’t perfect. They can’t control every possible scenario and are not necessarily accountable for delays such as accidents or traffic jams on the road. If your bus happens to get behind schedule because of something outside of the driver’s control, try to restrain yourself and not berate the driver. In the overwhelming majority of cases, a bus driver is not at fault for any schedule delays and the driver has limited ability to control conditions on the road. Delays are simply a part of public transportation and you should account for the possibility of falling behind schedule whenever riding the bus. Remember that the primary role of a bus driver is to get you safely to your destination and bus safety should be a priority over speed.

If you are traveling with children, or require extra time or assistance getting on or off the bus, take that into account, start getting ready early, and do your best to be prepared to board and exit the bus as quickly as possible when your stop arrives. Furthermore, do your best to keep your children’s behavior in line with bus etiquette, it is your responsibility to care for your child and ensure that everyone around you has a good trip.

Vehicles are really not the venue for loud conversations, blaring songs, offensive language, or phone use. They’re public transportation, meaning anyone might be sitting in a bus at any given time. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your grandma, you probably shouldn’t say it in public when riding a bus. The exact same holds for music that’s loud and includes profanity. Headsets are widely available, generally affordable, and will allow you to listen to your music without upsetting other passengers.

With more folks attempting to go green for the environment and due to sky rocketing gasoline costs, more and more individuals are opting to utilize public transportation like the bus. Riding the bus can be a good way to help the environment. So whether your journey is mere moments or days long, it is crucial to follow appropriate bus etiquette.

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