It seems like every time you get on the bus lately it is crammed with other passengers. There was a time that you could go to work, stop off at the grocery store and come home with only seeing about 15 people get on and off. However, nowadays it seems like everyone and his brother is riding the transit. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it has started to become uncomfortably crowded and it feels unsafe.
Last week you read about an overcrowded bus that ran into a bunch of school kids, and yesterday a group of tourists crowded around the driver and distracted him so much that he almost missed his turn.
So with the risks that come with overcrowding, what can you do to protect yourself?
Bus Safety Guidelines to Avoid Overcrowding Risks
Buses are designed to transport a finite number of people at one time. However, during busy holiday seasons, popular events, and heavy traffic times, this capacity can easily become overloaded. Passengers cram on to get to their destinations faster, carrying bundles, bags and packages, without any concern for how it will affect other passengers, the driver, or the bus itself. Unfortunately, this need to push in and overload the transport can be very dangerous.
Thousands of people a year are injured due to accidents and collisions involving overcrowded buses. This is why it is important to know your risks and how you can help prevent them.
A few guidelines to follow this season and every time you get on a bus are:
- Judge the capacity before you get on: if the bus is already full, don’t add to the crowd. Instead, wait for the next bus, which may be less crowded.
- Plan several different bus routes: this way, if a bus is too crowded, you can take the next one without fear of getting stuck somewhere you didn’t want to be.
- Avoid taking up extra room: if you have extra bags or purses, put them on your lap instead of using a seat. Not only is it rude to force a passenger to stand when she could be sitting, but it also increases the risk of danger for her, the driver, and the entire bus.
- Keep your voice down: the driver needs to stay focused and alert; unfortunately he may not be able to do this when 75 people are screaming on their cell phones, singing to their iPods or, even worse, asking him a million questions.
- Stay away from doors until they open: too much pressure or accidental pushing can cause doors to fly open. Stay as far away as you can to avoid being pushed out.
- Make sure you hold onto safety bars: prevent falling, slipping and accidental shoving by firmly gripping the safety bars or handles.
- Stabilize yourself to avoid pushing other passengers: you never know the pull of force until you’re standing on a bus. The slightest jerk can send you and your neighbors flying forward. Make sure you anticipate this force and counteract it by planting your feet and stabilizing your stance.
Avoid Being a Sardine for Safety’s Sake
Although it is understandable to want to get home as quickly as possible, don’t underestimate your risks. If a bus is too crowded, don’t tempt fate by squeezing into the crowd. Not only will you be uncomfortable, but you could be seriously injured. Stay safe and don’t perpetuate the danger. If not for the rest of the passengers, wait for a less full bus for your own safety’s sake. You’ll be glad you did.
You can use your social media connections to let your friends and loved ones know their risks, learn how to protect themselves when riding on buses, and stay safe this holiday season. Show your support by sharing this page on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.
Do you have additional safety suggestions or concerns? Do you think the FTA should take better precautions to stop overcrowding? Share your thoughts in the comment section. We’re anxious to hear your opinion and allow others like you to benefit from what you have to say.