Tips: Public Transportation Safety

The American Public Transportation Association reports that public transit systems in the U.S. and Canada topped more than 12 billion passengers last year.

However, public transportation crime is a persistent problem for many cities across both nations as it intimidates and discourages riders, many of them women. In fact, Canada's Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children reported that 58 percent of women feel worried while waiting or using public transit alone after dark.

"People who use public transportation can be especially vulnerable to violent crime. From parking lots to confined subway platforms to remote bus stops, the opportunity for crime is always there," said Larry Mays, director of transportation and logistics for ADT Security Services.

To help make public transportation safety a priority and keep commuters safer while using mass transportation, Mays and ADT recommend the following transportation safety tips:

  • Use well-lit, busy waiting and exit areas and travel through stations with security surveillance cameras. Security cameras and lighting are considered to be crime deterrents and public transportation safety necessities, so take time to plan your journey through stations and areas well equipped with both.
  • Never allow children to use public transportation alone. Children should always travel with a trusted adult along planned, safe routes. Teach children to stay away from the edge of train platforms and approach buses and trains only after they have come to a complete stop. Adults should also remember to create an emergency back-up plan in the case of separation.
  • Observe the behavior of others around you. If you ever feel uneasy or threatened by another passenger's behavior, change your seat, alert the driver or get off the bus or train when you are able. Commuters can contribute to public transportation safety by trusting their instincts and reporting what they see. As you leave the bus or train, make sure you are not being followed.
  • Look for an aisle seat if possible or sit near a driver or operator. Choosing an aisle seat gives you easier access on and off a bus or train in case of an emergency. However, it is important not to choose a seat too close to the door where thieves may have easy access to valuables.
  • Always keep your personal belongings close to you or against your body and keep an eye on them at all times. Never carry more than you can manage and aim to keep one hand free in case you have to defend yourself.
  • Park in well-lit parking lots and secure structures. The Federal Transit Authority reports that most public transportation crime occurs in parking lots or structures. Always look for parking lots and structures with security surveillance cameras and regular security patrols.

"Public transportation safety begins with commuters being aware of their surroundings, making safe travel choices and communicating with local authorities if they ever feel unsafe,” Mays said. “These transportation safety tips are a good reminder to help people reach their destinations safely."

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