Living in a city means learning to live alongside a lot of other people. That means maneuvering crowded sidewalks, dodging speeding cars, and relying on city buses to get from one place to another. Whether this is a new experience for you or something you have been doing your entire life, there are some important things you should keep in mind while utilizing public transportation.
1. Wear headphones.
Listening to music is my favorite way to pass time while traveling, but just because you want to listen to “Uptown Funk” on repeat (and I don’t blame you for one second) does not mean the entire bus is a Bruno Mars fan. The same rule applies if you are watching a video or playing a game. Be respectful of those around you and either turn the volume off or plug your headphones in.
2. Leave the front seats open for the elderly and disabled.
The first few seats on the Port Authority buses are specifically designated for people who need them the most. If there are other seats open and you can get to them, do so. If not, be ready to stand if someone in need boards the bus. It’s just the right thing to do.
3. Give up your seat to those who need it.
Related to the idea above, if an elderly person boards the bus and you are able to stand, then you should give up your seat, whether or not you were originally seated in the front few seats. The same goes for people loaded down with bags or anyone who looks like they are really struggling to stand. Remember that you share this city with thousands of people, and it’s important to show respect and kindness to your fellow Pittsburghers. They will appreciate the gesture, and maybe one day, someone will give their seat to you when you need it most.
4. Don’t take up more space than you need to.
If the bus is empty, then by all means, set your bag down on the seat next to you. But the minute it starts to fill up, put your stuff on your lap or on the ground by your feet. I’m all for making yourself comfortable, but don’t kick your feet up or spread your legs too wide when there are other people who could use the seat. Basically, don’t be that person insisting your book bag or your legs should get their own seat while a person standing next to you has to hold on to the railing for dear life.
5. Smile at the people who sit next to you.
I understand that sitting right next to a stranger for any amount of time is uncomfortable, but nothing can make it weirder than pretending that they aren’t there. Smile when they sit down, give a friendly nod, or say hi. You don’t have to come away with a new best friend or even start a conversation! Just acknowledge their existence somehow, and your ride will become a lot less awkward.
6. Thank the driver when you get off.
This one seems obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t think to thank the person who just got them from point A to point B in one piece. Yes, that’s their job, but it’s your job as a person to be courteous and respectful by uttering two quick words of appreciation: “Thank you.”