Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

How To Stay Safe On Trains And Buses

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Feb 21, 2018 12:49 PM

Public transportation in the United States has a bad reputation. When Atlanta was about to join the MARTA network in 2014, citizens voices concerns about public transit's proclivity to increase crime rates. However, nothing can be further from the truth. The National Crime Victimization Survey performed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics for the period of 2004-2008 found that only 0.9% of violent crimes and 0.7% of property crimes occurred in public transportation or in stations.

Still, the idea that using transportation other than your own can be dangerous isn't without a basis in reality. Public transportation is the second most common scene of purse snatchings and pocket pickings. Ride-share services are also getting a bad reputation. According to attorney Jamie Cogburn, there is an epidemic of ride-share rape. "Injury lawyers have expressed safety concerns with Uber's ride-share services, which use a smartphone app to pair passengers with drivers using their own cars," said Cogburn. "Some state lawmakers allege that Uber misleads its customers about business and safety practices." Because it is always better to be safe than sorry, here are some tips for staying safe in public transportation.

Plan Your Trip

Start from the basic things. You need to know at which station you will catch the train or the bus. It pays off to pick the best-lit station. Once you decide that, it is written in stone. There is no changing mind. You should also know at which station you are going to get off the bus or train. You should know when the transport is going to arrive, and how much time you will spend traveling. If you need to change transports, make sure you plan which station is the best to do it.

Planning your trip gives you two very important advantages. First, it lets you arrive at the station minutes before the bus or the train arrives, so you will not have to spend much time waiting. It will also minimize the time you spend on the bus or the train because you will have little chance to miss your stop.

Second, knowing exactly where you are going will help you appear more confident. Projecting confidence is one of the key advice given to people who want to learn how to avoid becoming a victim of crime. You are a better target if you are not confident.

Know Where to Sit or Stand

If you are sitting, the conventional wisdom is to get a seat as close to the driver as possible. Drivers are often covered by CCTV cameras, which might deter attackers or robbers. On the other hand, the middle of the bus might be the safest place to sit in the case of a traffic accident. Weigh your options.

If you are standing, stand in a way that prevents anyone from coming up behind you. If that is not a possibility, try to stand near people who appear trustworthy. Do not try to isolate yourself. If you get uncomfortable because of someone who is standing near you, do not be afraid to move.

Be Prepared and Focused

If you need to pay the fare on the bus or validate your ticket, always have the thing you need at hand. If you start rummaging around your bag, you might give a potential criminal a chance to assess your belongings, or attack you while you are distracted. Stay focused. Talking on your phone will not make you less likely to become a victim. Be aware of your surroundings -- you will need your eyes as well as your ears to do it.

Even though statistics say that you are more likely to become a victim of attack near your home than on the public transport, you should still be cautious when riding a bus or a train. Statics will be of little comfort if something bad happens. And your newly found public transport safety routine can help you take charge of your safety in other situations as well.

back to top

Give Now

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »