I have been using public transportation for more than 25 years, both in Portland, Oregon, and Honolulu, Hawaii. Here’s some helpful tips for riding mass transit successfully.
Wear light colored clothing, and have water resistant jacket on hand
Always have a light source handy
Learn the routes and schedules before hand
Know where the bus stops with Shelters are located
Allow extra time for transit
Use restroom frequently, and know where the restrooms are located on the transit route
Plan your trip ahead of time, have an alternative plan
Pay attention and be alert for the bus, and watch the traffic when walking
Be courteous to the bus operators
Watch out for the MAX train, be careful crossing the tracks.
In winter time, use moisturizer
Wear light colored clothing when using public transportation, especially when trying to ride the bus. The aim here is to be visible to the bus driver, either night or day light hours. Also, the weather in Oregon can change very quickly, be prepared by carrying weather resistant clothing with you all the time. I always carry water resistant nylon windbreaker in my backpack. Also, get to know the route you plan to take, know where the bus shelters are. Its also helpful to know where the train stations are too. Having some information, helps me to get home if my transit is delayed, or if I have to take an alternate bus, or train. Knowing where the bus shelters are, is extremely helpful when the weather gets rainy or cold.
Bus drivers routinely thank me for using a flash light to get their attention at night. Some times when its rainy, and dark, visibility drops. I can’t afford to miss my bus ride so, I carry two flash lights, one on my key chain, and a backup in my backpack. I start signaling the bus, as soon as I see it coming. I have seen people also use LED based flashers, similar to those used on bicycles, very effective. Also, try to keep your bus pass in an easy to accessible location, have it ready before boarding the bus. I keep my bus pass in a luggage tag holder. I attach the bus pass holder to my backpack with a plastic tie strap, this insures the bus pass doesn’t get lost, but is easy to access.
Plan your trip a head of time. Estimate how long your trip is, and know where the restrooms are along the way. Be sure to stop and take restroom breaks, you never know when there might have a delay while riding the bus or train. The transit company, Tri-met, has a great website dedicated to helping people use the public transportation system in Portland, Oregon. I highly recommend using their trip planner, just print out the trip planner recommendation, and on your way, its simple.
You must allow extra time when you use public transportation. For example, I will usually catch an earlier bus, just in case the first bus breaks down a long the way, or doesn’t show up. I don’t worry, because I know there is always another bus coming behind it. I use the time in between to read or take a nap.
If you plan on going car less (don’t own a car), and use public transportation, be sure to check bus and train routes schedules to see if they fit into your plans. Remember, public transit has different schedules for regular work days, Saturday, and Sunday. Tri-met runs on a Sunday schedule for holidays. Try to live in an area where the transit center is nearby, or near a frequent scheduled bus route. In Beaverton-Hillsboro, the routes I recommend are; Bus 20, Bus 52, and Bus 57. There are other routes too, but just research on the Tri-met website.
And finally, keep alert while walking around, watch the traffic flow all the time. Never take anything for granted, and be careful crossing streets. For example: Don’t expect stop lights to protect you, be aware of your surroundings, and never cross in front, or behind the bus after being dropped off, always wait for the bus to clear the area, it increases visibility for pedestrians and drivers. Also, be courteous, and thank the bus driver after you are dropped off. If you bring your bike, don’t forget to retrieve it. I heard that Tri-met has plenty of unclaimed bicycles.
I don’t own a car, and its been nine years now. I have less stress, and more money in the bank. There are drawbacks going car less, but I wouldn’t give up my lifestyle. Getting use to Oregon weather is challenging too, but I have learned to dress right, and use moisturizer to protect myself against fridge dry weather. Presently, I am testing products from Arbonne (moisturizers), I am giving Arbonne a tough test, because I am always out in the elements. If other companies want me to test their products, I would be happy to put it into my skin care routine, but the products have to be hypoallergenic, because I am sensitive. Hopefully, this article is helpful for all those wanting to go car less too. Drop me a line, and tell me about your car less lifestyle, I would love to learn anything new. Thanks for reading.