Safety Tips for Seniors who Use Public Transportation

Public transportation is an easy, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly way to travel. No matter if you are at home or on a fun vacation, public transportation can really help you save money. Plus, it is environmentally friendly for the planet, because it reduces the amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere. If you have never ridden public transportation, then the thought of doing so might be a little daunting, however, public transportation is super simple, usually fairly safe, and should not be feared. If you are a senior and are worried about your safety while using public transportation, then follow these simple tips to keep yourself safe, happy, and healthy.

elderly couple on public transit

Watch for Uneven Pavement                                                        

If you are not completely mobile or simply are at risk for falls, then when you get on and off of a bus be very cautious. To get on or off a bus, you must ascend or descend stairs which can be a little scary for seniors. Make sure that you hold onto the railing at all times, and watch your feet. When getting off of a bus, it is especially important to watch your step as you step onto the pavement. In bad weather conditions, the pavement could be slippery or wet. Keep ahold of the bus doors or railings if possible until your feet are flat on the pavement and you have gathered your bearings.

Have Bus Fare Ready

It is always a good idea to have your bus fare or your bus pass ready whenever you are boarding the bus. This way you will not hold up the line of passengers to get onto the bus, and you will avoid losing your balance as you search through your bags or pockets while ascending the stairs of the bus. Keep your bus fare or bus pass in an easy to locate part of your purse or jacket, or simply hold the items in your hands while waiting for the bus. This tip also works for if you are riding the subway or the train. It is always a good idea to have your fares ready to go.

Look for Gaps

Subways are notorious for having small gaps in between the platform and the entrance to the subway. Watch your step as you enter subways and make sure you stay clear from these gaps. Tripping over the gap could result in falls which could easily injure you. Also, when getting onto a bus, watch your step so that you stay clear from the small gap left between the pavement and the bus. Take as much time as you need to enter the bus or subway to ensure that you will not fall and you feel safe.

Remain Alert

Alertness is key to staying safe on public transportation. Staying alert and conscious about the people around you and where you are will help you feel more at ease about riding public transportation. If you have never ridden any form of public transportation before, then being in close spaces with strangers may make you a little leery, however public transportation is incredibly safe, especially if you are alert. Do not sit next to people who are acting suspiciously, and always watch your purse or your pockets. In crowded areas, pick-pocketing could occur, so it is essential that you are always aware of your surroundings and are alert in case anything unsavory would occur. It is also important to be alert so that you do not accidentally get injured on public transportation. Busses and taxis are notorious for being rough rides, and during quick turns or stops you may jerk forward in your seat. If you are not paying attention, then you could fall out of your seat and injure yourself. Always hold onto the bottom of your seat or onto a railing in the bus or taxi to keep yourself secured.

Carry a Flashlight

If you must travel on public transportation at night, then it is a good idea to carry a flashlight with you. Once you get off of the bus, subway, train or taxi, you can use the flashlight as a guide while you walk. This will help cars to see you easier, and will keep you safe as a pedestrian. Plus, it will also help other taxis and buses to see you if you have to take another leg of public transportation to get to your final destination.

Buckle Up in Taxis

Taxis are like any other vehicles, which mean that it is essential that you buckle your seatbelt. In large cities, taxis will fly through the streets and take shortcuts to get you where you need to be as quickly as possible. Sometimes this will cause you to have a very bumpy ride. Keep your seatbelt on and secured around you to keep yourself safe.

Avoid Night Riding if Possible

At night, the crime rates can grow exponentially, so unless it is absolutely necessary, it is best to ride public transportation during the day. Riding any form of public transportation could get dicey at night, but if you must, then taxis are your best option. If your town does not offer a taxi service and you still need to ride the bus at night, then do not stand in isolated bus stops or dark bus stops. Instead, stand in a group of people in well-lit bus stops that are near local businesses if possible. Once you get off of the bus, take out your flashlight to keep yourself safe and visually alert as you walk to your final destination.

Public transportation is often a safe and easy way to get around town. If you are a senior and simply do not like driving your own car, or do not own a car, then public transportation can help you regain your independence and take you all around town. It is a safe and effective way to travel most times, but always be aware of your surroundings and follow these tips so that you can stay healthy, happy and safe.


For additional articles on seniors and driving – check these posts in our home care blog: