Getting Around Safely On Public Transportation
Public transportation is a convenient way to get around and certainly removes some of the burden and expense of owning or using your own vehicle. Buses and taxis can also give people peace of mind knowing that they don’t have to impose on friends to go places. However, don’t let routine and familiarity break down your guard against crime. Criminals are always looking for targets of opportunity and places like bus stops can be a prime place to find them.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to stay alert. It’s easy to get complacent, especially if you ride a bus often. Show a confident attitude and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Such a demeanor is a turnoff to criminals. Don’t let your guard down by falling asleep or getting too engrossed in a book.
Try to sit by the aisle if possible so as to avoid getting boxed in against the window. Also, sit near the driver, but don’t sit right next to the door. Thieves might try to snatch jewelry or personal belongings from people by the door and make a quick escape. Don’t leave your purse or packages on an empty seat, but rather keep your belongings on your lap or firmly planted between your feet. Tuck your necklace out of view and turn your rings around so you don’t show valuable stones. Better yet, remove such jewelry before traveling.
Pickpockets are adept at working in crowds, and groups of people at a bus stop sometimes make good targets. Don’t keep your money or wallet in a back pocket, and make sure purses and other bags are held firmly under your arm or close to your body and are securely closed. Be on guard if you are pushed or bumped, and be wary of anyone arguing or causing a commotion. These could be staged incidents to distract you while others are trying to steal your valuables.
Have your exact fare ready early so that you won’t have to fumble for your money at the bus door or display extra cash.
Try to maintain a schedule that ensures plenty of people are at the bus stop while you are. Use well-lighted, frequently utilized bus stops when possible. Keep track of the bus schedule to avoid waiting longer than necessary. Take advantage of opportunities to travel with friends or co-workers. When you travel alone, especially if you’re not used to public transportation, tell a family member, friend or co-worker about your travel route. Then call that person when you arrive safely. If you must walk home late at night from a bus stop, try to arrange for someone to meet you.
Know where you are going, where you have to transfer and how to get back home. Otherwise, your travels may land you in areas that you are unfamiliar with.
When using a taxi, it is safest to call for one by phone when possible rather than waiting to flag one down off the street. A phoned-in order is also more likely to be tracked by the taxi company, making it easier to report any problems you have, and giving the company more options in returning anything you might leave in the vehicle.
If the taxi driver tries to bargain or claims the meter is broke, try to get a different cab. Never sit in the front seat if you are alone, and don’t share a taxi with a stranger.
If the taxi you are in breaks down, ask the driver to call for a replacement. You shouldn’t have to get out in a busy street or somewhere you are unfamiliar with to flag down another taxi.
Taxis and busses are convenient ways to get where you need to go as long as you stay alert and trust your instincts. Always think about safety no matter where you go or how you get there.