Getting on The Bus


Illustration by Bela Messex.

Yes, there is an art to this that can speed up the entire process and get you on your way quickly.

1. If you see the bus has been fully loaded, but you are still strolling along some distance away, don’t expect the bus to wait for you. If, on the other hand, you are within a reasonable distance and start running toward the bus before it has been fully loaded, the chances are very good that the driver will wait for you. If you are over 60 yards away – probably not – unless you put on a really good burst of speed.

2. If you are unable to speed up because of infirmity, wave your hand or something to get the driver’s attention. Definitely if you are on crutches a quick wave of your hand to get the driver’s attention and they will usually wait for you.

3. If you are crossing the cross walk at Kerr bridge and the bus is already waiting at the cross walk in the traffic lane, it is not reasonable to expect the driver to pull over at the last second when they have already passed the bus stop. The trick here is to catch the driver’s attention as you cross and before they get to the stop, and indicate you wish to catch the bus.

4. Speaking of the Kerr stop, and any other for that matter: if you are sitting at a stop and the diver beeps to get your attention, in effect asking you to indicate whether or not you want to catch the bus – if you just sit there like a lump expecting the bus to stop just because you are sitting there – it is quite likely that the bus will just drive on by. I have had people wait until the bus was driving past them before they made a move to either raise their hand or get up. Too late folks!

5. Please do not stand close to the curb at bus stops as buses pull in. There is every chance that you could be hit by a mirror hanging down from the front corner of the bus.

6. Remember standard bus etiquette – let passengers get off the bus before you try to get on the bus – otherwise there is total confusion.

7. At the uphill Kreske stop and the uphill Oaks stop, the buses load at the upper part of the stop, not right beside the bus shelter – so move up when you see the bus coming that you want. Don’t wait until the bus comes to a stop before you move because you are holding others up and the driver may assume that you don’t want that bus.

8. Always remember that once the bus is loaded and ready to move, no passenger is allowed to be forward of the yellow line (sometimes white line) to the right and just behind the driver. If the police see people riding in front of that line the driver could loose both license and job. Don’t force the driver to remove you from the bus if you can’t get behind the line.

9. When there are a lot of people waiting to get on a bus, please use both entrances, and load quickly. Those getting on at the front entrance, please take it upon yourself to move quickly toward the rear so as many people can be loaded as possible. I find myself having to tell you to move quickly toward the back of the bus, and I shouldn’t have to do that.

It never ceases to amaze me how so many people wait at the rear entrance, even though they see a lot of people waiting to get out from that door. If no one is exiting from the front door, you could actually move up to that door, enter the bus, and move toward the back of the bus even as others are still exiting the bus. And the people still waiting outside the back door will probably end up standing because you took the good seats. It’s called independent thinking – the opposite of the “herd mentality”.  Try it sometime!

10. And if you are getting onto the bus, your first priority should be getting on the bus, not finishing that cell phone call or hugging your friend. The more you delay, the longer you hold up others.

Getting Off The Bus

1. When you wish to get off the bus, please make sure that the driver knows you need to get off at the next stop. Normally you would do that by pulling the stop request chord. On some buses, like my own, the upper stop request indicator may not be working, however you should hear a “ping” sound when the chord is pulled the first time after the doors have been closed.

2. If you are on the back of the bus, and the stop request does not work, and the music is a bit loud, please do not be afraid to speak up and call – “Next Stop Please!” If you whisper quietly, you probably will not be heard.

3. Just because the driver announces a stop, does not mean that they are necessarily going to stop. Just like the Metro, if there is no one at the stop indicating they want to get on to the bus, and no one on the bus indicates that they want to get off the bus as described above, the driver will drive past the stop. Just because you shift your books around or stand up will probably not signal the driver that you wish to exit the bus. Please make it clear that you wish to exit the bus. And only one person needs to do this for any given stop.

4. Please get all your stuff together and be ready to leave the bus before it arrives at the stop – then exit quickly so that others can get on. Please don’t stop to talk to someone on your way off the bus.

Smokers and The Bus

1. Obviously you cannot smoke on a bus!

2. Not so obvious, perhaps, is that your breath is very offensive to non-smokers for some time after you put down your cigarette. 

I propose that you take this into consideration as a common courtesy and do not smoke for at least 5-10 minutes before you get on a bus. If you have a breath mint (recommended) you might even take that right after you put out your cigarette.

3. You may NOT bring your cigarette butt with you on the bus. It will leave the bus smelling really terrible for literally hours after you have left with your butt. Please find one of the provided cigarette butt receptacles at many of the bus stops long before you get on the bus. If you plan to load at a stop that does not have a receptacle, such as the east-bound science hill, or the Barn Theater stop – please do not smoke on your way to the stop. It is really an abomination to leave your cigarette butts on the ground.

Thanks letting me vent my concerns and suggestions,

Dave (the “Epic Bus” aka “Dramatic Bus” driver)