This post has been updated from 9th October 2014

8 ways to stay safe on Modern London buses

Don’t we just love London buses? Travelling by bus daily can be fun but daunting sometimes. Your bus stop might be crowded, or there aren’t any empty seats when the bus arrives. Your bus journey might even feel scary, especially if you’re not used to getting around the capital. Don’t fret, hope is at hand. The good news is, there are 8 ways to stay safe on London buses.

Some of us commute daily by bus to get to work, college or school. While others board a bus to attend medical appointments, friends or family, shopping trips, sight-seeing or to get to the other side of the city. Some elderly and disabled passengers might travel by bus during the off-peak times. And of course if you are a tourist in London, you might find it cheaper to travel by bus.

Londoners are quite lucky to have a variety of bus routes and bus types, like the modern version of the Routemaster, the new eco friendly electric double-decker, or a single deck bus. Some are even hybrid. They are so iconic.

Travelling on the bus needn’t feel stressful. But learning a few safety tips can help you stay safe:

  1. Children

Children are particularly vulnerable if they are not used to travelling independently. Parents and carers will need to check that they don’t stick their arms and head out of the window. Most bus now windows have safety panels. Give them guidelines to follow that will pave the way for future travel. Teach them to stay near other sensible children when waiting for their bus and avoid  speaking to strangers.

  1. Oyster Card, Contactless Cards, Freedom passes for the disabled and elderly, over 60’s Oyster card

Pack your Oyster card, travel card, contactless payment card or freedom pass in your bag and leave home in good time. Get to the bus stop 10 minutes early and don’t run for the bus. If you miss your bus wait for the next one. TFL now has displays at bus stops displaying arrival time on a screen, so you needn’t worry about being late to your destination. Great idea, isn’t it? Oh! And not forgetting to check your bus timetable on the TFL website for updates, using your smartphone, if you have one. I access this site all the time and it saves my precious time.

The new 63 bus in London

The new eco friendly electric double-decker route 63 bus in London

  1. Bus stop

Plan your trip in advance, know your designated bus stop and stand back from the curb. As the bus approaches, remain in the queue but don’t be tempted to walk on to the road. Wait for the bus to stop, and when it’s your turn to board, tap your payment card on the electronic reader then walk to your seat. Remember to hold on to the railings if you decide to go up to the top deck. Take a seat right away but don’t extend your legs or obstruct the gangway. Being kind and considerate goes a long way. Your neighbouring passenger shouldn’t feel squashed. After All they’ve paid for their bus ride.

The route number 11 bus journeys through London's tourist spots. This is Victoria street in central London

The route number 11 bus journeys through London’s tourist spots. This is Victoria street in central London

  1. Take a seat

Remain seated throughout your journey if you can but if you feel uncomfortable sitting next to a passenger, get up immediately and sit elsewhere. In some cases, you might not find a seat.

  1. Eye contact being a target and keep your valuables secure in your bag and not your back pocket!

  1. Consider other passengers

Watch out for the blind, guide dogs, pets, the elderly, parents with young children and the disabled! We must show consideration for them. When the bus arrives at your stops, show respect to other passengers by walking slowly to the exit and hold the railings to avoid being pushed from behind by other passengers. Refrain from pushing the doors open as this a safety hazard.

  1. Loud music!

Listen to music with headphones or EarPods but remember not to annoy fellow passengers with loud music!

  1. Crowds

Be mindful of crowds during the rush hours on your way to your destination or home in the evening. Know your exits and trust your instincts. Make sure you are visible to traffic and other pedestrians at night.

Avoid isolated areas on your way to your bus stop and walk where there are people.

Despite safety concerns, some of us have about travelling on the buses, it is still possible to have a pleasant journey, so don’t despair. London buses have an accessible network. They are unique, especially with the electric powered double decker bus with a sunroof and mobile phone charging ports, like the number 63 bus route.

Do you have a special tip to share that has helped you travelling by bus? Are there more than 8 ways? Drop me a line or two as always.

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