When using public transportation to travel back and forth to school, your safety should be your main focus. With the countless options available for public transportation, there are additional risks involved that you should prepare for in advance. Public transportation can be very helpful in getting you to where you need to be, but situations still may arise where you need to make a decision to keep yourself safe. Here are some important safety tips to consider when utilizing public transportation to get to school.
Don’t Fall Asleep
Being a college student, you may feel tempted to fall asleep on the bus or train on your way to school after a long night of studying. However, falling asleep leaves you vulnerable to people who want to take advantage of the fact that you are not aware of your surroundings. There are several people getting on and off the bus or train frequently and between the shuffle, someone could just walk right by you and quickly grab something of value and you won’t even notice. Make sure to always stay awake and alert so you can protect your belongings.
Have a Back-Up Form of Transportation
Depending on where you go to college and what time of day your classes are, the bus or train may get crowded during those peak riding times. The more people who are on the bus or train, especially if you are standing, the more likely that someone may try to steal something from you. In addition to this, a crowded bus or train presents additional safety concerns while being transported. If the bus gets too crowded and you do not feel safe, it is best to get off the bus to use another form of transportation. Perhaps set some money aside in case you need to call a taxi or ride-sharing service.
Be Familiar with Legitimate Taxi Companies
If you are attending school in an area that you are not familiar with, it is very important that you become familiar with which taxi services are available in that area and what their logos and vehicles look like. This will help ensure you never get into an illegitimate taxi and get taken advantage of, robbed, or kidnapped. Scary things can happen if you get into a car that you are unfamiliar with. If you are using a ride-sharing service, make sure to double check the type of car that is supposed to pick you up, make sure the driver tells you your name, and ensure the logo of the ride-sharing company is in their window somewhere. If anything about the situation makes you uncomfortable or you have a bad feeling, do not get in the car. It is better to be safe than to wonder whether or not you are in a bad situation.
Know Your Surroundings
Although the bus or taxi driver most likely knows where they are going, it is also important for you to become familiar with the area. If you miss your stop on the bus or train, it is going to be a lot easier to adjust your route to get to school if you know where you are. Learn alternate routes to get to school and become familiar with the stop directly after your usual stop so you know how to get back to where you need to be. If you look lost, it is an opportunity for someone to take advantage of you or to steer you in the wrong direction so they can steal from you or kidnap you.
Learn the Various Bus Routes
If you miss your stop on the bus, it can sometimes be difficult to get back where you were within the timeframe you need to get to class on time. When you first start using the bus, carry the bus schedule around with you so that you can look up alternate routes to take. Be aware of where the bus stops are around town in case you need to walk to another bus stop to get on the correct bus. Do not ask anyone for directions unless it is a bus driver or police officer, as you do not want to get inaccurate information from someone that could put you in danger.
Do Not Share a Taxi with a Stranger
Even if you trust the taxi company, you should not ever share a taxi with a stranger. The taxi driver cannot protect you from theft or being taken advantage of by another rider. The driver can pull over at any time if you feel uncomfortable or if something does happen, however it may be difficult to prove in the event that theft does happen. For example, the other rider could steal cash from you and then say it is his or her cash when confronted by the driver about it. It is best to just ride by yourself and protect yourself from these situations.
Have an Emergency Contact
When using public transportation as your main form of getting to school, it is important that someone you trust knows the route you typically take, what times you use the bus, train, or taxi, and where your destination is. This will be helpful if anything unexpected happens to you. Make this person your emergency contact in your phone and make sure they are aware that you have assigned this responsibility to them. If you do find yourself in an emergency, always call the police first before making any other calls. If you are attending college in a foreign country, make sure to program all local emergency phone numbers in your phone so you have quick, easy access to them. This includes your campus police or security, your dormitory, local police etc.
Keep Your Phone Attached to You
Phones are expensive in today’s world and is extremely easy for someone to take from you if it is sitting in your lap or visible in your bag next to you. Make sure to always have your phone attached to your person when riding on a bus or a train. It may be helpful to buy a case with an arm loop so that you can slip it around your arm securely. If someone steals your phone, it will be much more difficult to call someone for help if you need to, so keeping it close to you is crucial to your safety. It is also important to always password protect your phone. This will ensure your information will remain safe if someone does steal your phone.
Don’t Talk to Anyone
When waiting for the train or bus, do not talk to anyone. Opening up conversation with a stranger will only make you vulnerable to revealing unnecessary information to that person and giving them an opportunity to take advantage of you. Although it is always good to be nice to people, being too friendly or too conversational can open the door for the stranger to ask for money or expect something else, and ultimately put you in an uncomfortable situation.
Leave Home with Plenty of Extra Time
Given how many things could go wrong when trying to keep yourself safe using public transportation, it is always important to leave your house early enough. This will allow you some time to change your plan of action to get to school if something or someone makes you uncomfortable.
It is understandable that a college student may not have a car and would need to use public transportation to get to school. It is often a cheap way to get around and it eliminates the need to rely on someone else for rides. However, it is also important to ensure you are always taking the necessary precautions to remain safe. You never know what can happen, so it is crucial to have a back-up plan for unexpected situations, have an emergency contact, know your surroundings and be familiar with legitimate forms of transportation, and always stay awake and alert.