With rising gas prices, public transport is supposed to be a less stressful option for people who have to commute to work. After traveling around the world and now settling in Los Angeles, I cannot recommend a better way to save some extra cash in your pocket, eliminate wear and tear on your car or embark on one of the best people-watching activities in the world.
But with bus-riding comes some important tips that I have discovered and now abide by before taking a seat on the huge chariot that is the city bus.
For starters, try to plan your schedule around the bus schedule. Granted there are times that buses run late, and you stand in the middle of downtown Los Angeles stranded, but regardless, know your bus schedule, and be ready to board. So many times have I run down the sidewalk in a panic by just a minute late and watch the bus drive away. Not only do you feel ridiculous, you are also guaranteed yourself a late arrival to work.
Secondly, keep your items to a minimum if at all possible. The most I carry is a shoulder bag and a lunch box. There is nothing worse than lugging around more than necessary. Backpacks are wonderful inventions, especially if the bus has reached capacity and you are standing with your feet spread apart trying not to fall into someone’s lap when the driver hits the brakes.
Do you have an iPod or a book? My iPod goes with me everywhere. It seems to make the trip go faster, and block out the endless sounds of text messaging, coughing, sneezing, annoying ring tones or gossip shared by two women who happen to be sitting on either side of you. Just be aware to keep head-bobbing to a minimum, and if you feel the need to sing, please do so in your head.
Know where your bus stop is. Although quick naps are recommended, try not to forget where you are actually going and remember to signal the bus driver. If the bus happens to be full, try to get up and move your way towards the door. I have missed my stop before because certain riders could not seem to get the concept of “excuse me, this is my stop.” Instead they pretend not to hear you and move out of your way, just as the bus pulls away. Again – a guaranteed late arrival to work.
Very important tip: If you are sitting at the front of the bus reserved for the handicap and elderly, please stand up and offer them your seat. They greatly appreciate it and you feel like you have done a wonderful public service.
I hope these tips are useful, as over time my bus rides have been much easer, especially in a city with so much hustle. The ride isn’t always unpleasant, in fact, you meet the most interesting characters – as entertaining and ridiculous as they may be.
If anyone else can think of another bus-riding tip, please share, and happy riding!