Although using the public transport system or the mass transit is without any doubt a great way for a traveler to save money and live your normal simple life, but it also presents some risk.
Before enjoying the public transportation or mass transit in any city or country, take a moment to consider these important travel safety tips.
1. Look for an Official Badge or Permit
Any legitimate taxi driver or bus driver in any public transport will have a badge displayed, so take a quick look around before you get in and feel free not to get in if you don’t see one. When you do spot a badge, check out the picture and be sure it looks like your driver.
2. Take Note of Logos and Colors
Take note of the logos and colors of local taxis and buses even if you don’t need one immediately. This will help you spot the ones that are legitimate and those that are fake later.
Fake cabs or public transport buses have been used by criminals to part you from your money in several ways. In some regions, fake cabs are used to kidnap tourists.
Know which are the legitimate taxis and buses to avoid getting taken for a dangerous ride.
3. Stash Your Cash Wisely
Don’t take out large amounts of money from the ATM and keep all of it in your wallet whenever you are boarding a public transport. It’s best to keep some in your suitcase, some in the hotel safe, and just enough in your wallet for whatever you have planned that day. That way, if your wallet does get taken, you won’t be out too much money.
Similarly, don’t keep all of your credit cards in your wallet; only bring out one at a time so you’re not stranded without access to your funds if you lose your wallet.
4. Travel in Pairs at Night
If you’re in an unfamiliar place, no matter how safe it might seem, it’s usually best to avoid traveling alone at night.
Try to make sure you stick with your friends after dark, or ask someone you’ve met at your hostel to ride the bus back with you to your room at the end of the night.
5. Mind the Time when in Public Transport
Check out the local transit schedules so you know what time the different bus and train lines stop running at night.
If you’re out enjoying the local nightlife late into the night (or into the early morning) and you don’t keep track of time, you could find yourself stranded with no buses in sight.
6. Stay Awake and Alert at all Times
You may be tempted to read a book, check your messages, or take a quick nap on public transportation, but that’s the perfect way to have your wallet, camera, backpack and other stuff stolen. Plus, you could end up in a strange place at the end of the bus line with no way to get back if you sleep too long!
Stay awake and alert no matter how tired you are. This is true when you’re in a taxi as well – your driver could be just as dangerous as a common criminal.
7. Keep close Control over your Bags and Packages
Just like at the airport, it’s essential to keep close control over your bags and packages if you are to keep them in your possession.
This is especially important if you have several bags or packages, or if everyone on the bus or train has similar bags. It’s easy for a thief to switch out an empty one that looks just like yours when all the bags come from the same retailer.
Bunch your bags between your feet or close on the seat beside you when you’re sitting, and keep hold of them when you’re standing.
8. Dress Appropriately
Don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself with what you wear. Be culturally appropriate and try not to stand out too much. Muted colors and conservative clothing helps you to fade into the crowd and stay out of trouble.
9. Know where you are Going
It’s an easy trap to fall into: you tell the driver where you are going and he or she takes you there, but the driver isn’t responsible for you and could even have their own malicious agenda in mind.
Knowing where you are going by having a map and paying attention to the route will help you protect yourself.
10. Get off the Bus if it gets too Crowded
When people are pressing in all around you, it’s harder for you to watch and protect your belongings. Crowds are not a traveler’s friend – in fact, they can make it far easier for pickpockets and thieves to do their dirty work and escape quickly.
If things are getting too crowded, get off the bus at the next well-lit stop and wait for a less crowded one.
11. Be Wary of Sharing
Sharing a cab is a common way to save a little money, but sharing a cab with a stranger can leave you in a bad spot. It’s a common scam in some places: you share a cab with a person who leaves behind a little contraband.
Soon after, a fake cop stops your taxi and the stuff is discovered. You may be searched, arrested, robbed or even taken to a fake police station where your identification is swiped and sold over the Internet.
Sharing a cab is fine with friend, but not with strangers, no matter how kind they are.
12. Know how to call for Emergency Help
Every country has their own local emergency number that’s different. Knowing the number to dial can make the difference. If your guidebook doesn’t have it, ask the receptionist at any hotel or anyone close to you at that moment.