Review the Bus Schedule Beforehand
Before you take the bus, review the bus route and the bus schedule the night before. Use our Map Your Commute tool to determine the route you’ll be taking, if you will transfer, and map out your time. Give yourself a little extra time the first few times, you’ll get the hang of it soon enough!
Find your Pick-up Location
Most bus schedules identify major and minor stops along the route. Scout your pick-up location the day before. Make a visual note of where your stop is located. Some stops have bus shelters while others may only have a standing sign.
Determine the Cost
Calculate the costs for your round trip. After all, you have to get back home!
You can either bring cash or purchase a pass beforehand. Most bus companies offer either a monthly pass or a pass with a pre-determined number of rides. If you decide to bring cash, bring coins and single bills. Unfortunately, bus drivers cannot make change for larger bills.
Tip: Check with your employer!
Some employers may offer a discount on a bus pass. Speak with Human Resources. It may save you money in the long run.
Check the weather the day you’re taking the bus, and dress appropriately. You’ll be outside waiting for the bus, best to be prepared for whatever may come: rain, snow, sun, wind.
Waiting for the Bus
While waiting on your stop, keep on eye on the oncoming traffic. As a bus approaches, review the bus route name and number on the marquee. Often times, multiple buses may follow the same route. IF you’re unsure, move towards the curb and raise your hand to signal the bus driver. The bus will always slow down. If you’re unsure, don’t worry about asking the bus driver questions. They’re always happy to help.
Some bus companies provide real-time tracking of their buses, so you know exactly where and when your bus will arrive. For example, GMT recently launched Routeshout, a new app that provide a real-time map for all their buses. Check with your local bus company to see if they offer this!
Boarding the Bus
Once the bus comes to a complete stop, walk up the stairs, slide your card or drop your money into the box, and walk into the bus. If you plan on transferring buses, it’s best to ask for your transfer pass as you are boarding.
Stopping the Bus
Each bus route has major and minor stops. It’s best practice to always signal you upcoming stop. You signal the driver by pulling the stop cord (a gray cord that runs along the interior sides of the bus, or by pressing the stop indicator (a small strip that also runs along the interiors of each bus. When you pull or press the indicator, you’ll often hear a ring and see a sign the front of the bus indicating a stop request.
Exiting the Bus
Once the bus slows down, you can begin to gather your belongings. Once the bus stops, stand and make your way to the nearest open exit. It’s often a good idea to initiate eye contact with the bus driver via the rear view mirror. This helps the driver know that you plan to exit the bus.