A Quick Guide to Proper Bus Etiquette


Taking public transit is one of the most useful and affordable methods of transportation in large cities. During the winter, the bus can help you avoid getting trapped in torrential snowstorms and the cold. Most cities have concrete laws on bus transit, as well as some unwritten conventions about how each rider should act. These conventions help maintain order and efficiency during the bus ride.

Knowing the correct behavior when riding public transit is essential to being a polite and respectful citizen. Sometimes bus riders do not realize they are behaving in inappropriate or annoying ways, so it can be helpful to understand bus riding conventions before riding. Here are a few tips when riding the bus that can help you become a better public transit rider.

Giving Your Seat Away

If you notice that someone who has a physical disability or an older person gets on the bus, try to offer up your seat. Often, the bus can stop and speed up abruptly, causing riders who are standing to lose their balance or fall. By giving up your seat to disabled and older people, you can help avoid dangerous accidents during the bus trip. Also, if you are riding the bus with a backpack or shopping bags, try not to put them on other seats, as this can take up extra space for other passengers who may need to sit. Many times physical disabilities are not visible, so if you feel that you could stand during your bus trip, consider doing so.

Calling Out Inappropriate Behavior

Unfortunately, riding the bus can be a dangerous experience for members of visible minorities. Because the bus is a public transit system, anyone can board if they have a ticket. Bus systems often have laws regarding hate speech and harassment on the bus. However, not all bus systems have detailed rules, and it is your responsibility to call someone out if they are exhibiting inappropriate or oppressive behavior. If you are taking the bus at night, be aware of your surroundings, as these are the peak hours of harassment for many people.

Personal Space

When entering the bus, be mindful of everyone’s personal space. If there are many seats on the bus available, consider choosing one that is not directly beside someone. It can be quite alarming for some people if you decide to sit beside them when there are many seats open, so be mindful. Giving riders their personal space when the bus is empty is an important tip to know. Also, the bus can get very hot during the summertime so giving riders space can help reduce claustrophobic feelings. Do not worry if the bus is packed; most passengers know that their personal space is going to be limited during these times.

Listening to Music

If you like to listen to music, remember to use headphones when on the bus. It is very obnoxious to listen to music out of a speaker or phone while riding. This act of listening can be disruptive for other passengers, and the driver, so make sure you have your headphones with you. Not only can music be loud and disturbing, but young children may be on the bus, and music containing curse words may not be suitable for their ears.

Taking the Bus with Children

If you are bringing an infant or young child on the bus for the first time, you should make sure you prepare them for the trip. If you speak to your children before taking the bus, so they understand the proper etiquette when riding it can make a stressful new situation more enjoyable. If you are bringing many children on the bus during busy periods, make sure they stay close because during rush hour, as they may get squished by other travelers.


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