Whether you are heading to the mall, running late for class or catching a bus home after a long day, here are some simple etiquette rules to live by while riding the CATA buses to ensure a pleasant experience.
Wait your turn. Some bus stop locations are busier than others, and sometimes it seems more like a sea of crazed people than a line of late students. Try to respect those who were there first and wait your turn. Everybody has somewhere to be and you are not the only one trying to make it to your 10:20 class on time.
Have your money/bus pass ready. During high traffic times of the day, it’s best to be organized and ready when it’s your turn to board the bus. It can be extremely time consuming when someone is rummaging through his or her backpack, wallet, purse or jacket in search of bus fare. You will most likely have to wait for the bus anyway, so kill some time and get your money or pass ready for use; it makes boarding the bus more efficient.
One seat per person. If you are lucky enough to be sitting down, don’t put your backpack in the seat next to you. If you must take it off, hold it in your lap or put it under your feet where it won’t disrupt traffic. As a side note, if you are standing, backpacks can be hazardous; watch when you turn to avoid accidentally hitting someone.
Hold onto the rail. If you are standing, be sure to hold onto the handrails. This is not only for your safety, but for the safety of others, too. Also, if you see a shorter person trying to reach the overhead handrails, switch with them and give them one of the floor poles so they can reach. (Coming from a short person, this is much appreciated.)
Give up your seat when appropriate. There is the obvious list of passengers to give up your seat for which should be apparent to all: pregnant women, the elderly, etc. However, keep in mind the more subtle ones as well, including people carrying a lot of bags, people on crutches and even those who have a walking boot on. Not only is it not easy for people in these situations to stand, but they are also more likely to be stepped on, which can make an injury worse. Be considerate and give up your seat.
Make room. I can still hear the bus drivers shouting at everyone to move to the back of the bus to make room for more passengers. There is no such thing as personal space when it’s the middle of January on a Monday morning. You are going the be pressed up against three different people, so just keep your head down and enjoy the body warmth while you can.
Watch your surroundings. Aside from watching your personal items, make sure you are aware of your surroundings. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen someone take a backpack to the face or watched an umbrella swing around while everyone ducks. Be aware that buses are small, enclosed spaces, so keep all arms, legs, backpacks and sharp objects tucked in or away.
Be polite. Everyone has a bad day. Try to be patient with other passengers no matter what. Also, be polite to the driver — a please and thank you will go a long way!
Megan Gilhooly is a senior studying professional writing and communication as a double major. Her talents range from finishing a full Netflix season in a week to reading an entire book in one day. She also enjoys coffee, the gym and creative writing in her free time.