For the city dwellers, travelling by public transport is a way of life. Be it the London tube, the Seoul subway, the New York metro or the Mumbai local trains, peak hours are crowded, and navigating through them causes unnecessary stress and fatigue. Here are a few tips that can help in alleviating your woes:
1. Know your transport
It is imperative to intimately understand your desired public transportation system. Usually, there are multiple routes that take you to the desired destination. Traffic on certain routes may vary depending on time of the day and frequency of the transport. Building up such knowledge takes time and detailed study of the routes and timetables. However, in the long run it is the best way to beat the crowds.
2. Move to the Center
Once inside the bus or a train car, move to the center. Standing at or near the entrance is not a good strategy, as people constantly move in those areas, which results in more push and shoves. Moreover, the chance of getting pick-pocketed at the doorways, where the thief can get off the bus or the train easily, is higher. At the centre one is usually safe from such unscrupulous elements.
3. Hold On
In a crowded bus or train, with no place to sit, find the best standing spot. Make sure it is near a pole or a handle, which can be held on to. Holding on to something not just prevents you from falling over someone in case of unforeseen jerks and pushes, but it also transfers the weight off your legs and reduces the overall fatigue of travel.
4. Do not lean on poles
People have a habit of leaning over the poles in bus and trains. This is not a good idea, as it does not allow your fellow passengers to find a place to hold on to. It is an indicator of poor etiquette, and gets you nasty looks or even an unnecessary fight.
5. Keep your feet and bags off the seats
When the train or bus is less crowded, sometimes people put their feet on the seat or put the baggage on the adjacent empty seat. However, this smacks of poor etiquette. More importantly, soon when the vehicle gets crowded, you start getting nasty looks from your fellow passengers looking for an empty seat. Always keep the feet on the ground, so that others have a clean place to sit on and keep the luggage on the overhead rack or your lap.
6. Be aware of your surroundings
It is important to be aware of your surroundings, instead of being lost in your thoughts or in your music. This helps in detecting any untoward activity or a person around you. Ensure that no unclaimed baggage is lying around in the overhead racks or below the seats. Being vigilant pays and helps the local security forces to maintain law and order in crowded transports and stations.
7. Be aware of your personal belongings
Keep the luggage you are carrying with you to the minimum. Additionally, keep your wallets, cell phones and other expensive belongings close to your body. Instead, of letting your belongings hang in loose pockets or bags, consciously, be aware that at all times you can feel them against your body. If you have expensive items in the luggage, avoid leaving it on overhead racks. Instead stick them below the seat and between your legs thus making them less accessible.
8. Keep your ticket and fare readily available
Keep the ticket or your fare ready in the pocket. This quickens the boarding process. It also inhibits you from opening the wallet in crowded places, revealing the money and credit cards within. The more you display the money or expensive items on you, the more appealing a target you become for the thieves.
9. Be courteous
Be polite and courteous to your fellow passengers. Do not jump queues. Try to be accommodative of other people’s needs as much as you can. Apologizing for an unintended push or being grateful for a seat from your fellow passenger helps to build the camaraderie and reduces the stress for everyone involved in the travel.
10. Be clean
The public transport is for us, and it is our responsibility to keep it clean. Avoid spitting, or throwing garbage on the platforms or inside the bus or train. Cover your mouths when sneezing or coughing in a crowded place. It prevents germs from spreading. Finally, if you see wrappers, bottles or other garbage on the seats, make an effort to clean it up. After all, we all like to travel in clean vehicles.
Do you have other interesting tips? I would love to hear about them in the comments.
Featured photo credit: M M via flickr.com