If it pains you to think about riding the bus or taking the subway to work, think about taking a few simple measures to improve your public transportation experience while reducing the cost of your commute.
Don’t incite “commuter rage.” Have your electronic fare card, paper fare transfer or cash/coins ready before you board the bus, subway or light rail so you aren’t left with an annoyed driver and a line of angry people behind you while you fish through your wallet.
Sit in a window seat, if one is available. If you are claustrophobic, shy or just tired, gazing out the window is a good way to relax in the midst of a commuter crowd.
Bring an activity to improve the quality of your ride. Whether you use your commute to read a book, pay bills or work on your laptop, you’ll enjoy your travel experience more when you use your time wisely and multitask on your ride.
Be observant, reporting shady characters to the transit driver, a security guard or police officer if you are followed, harassed or assaulted while using public transportation.
Buy some antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer. Public transportation is not known for being the cleanest way to travel, so come prepared to wipe off dirty or wet seats. Clean off your hands after your travel experience in order to prevent the spread of community germs.
Keep an inexpensive pair of earplugs to store in your briefcase or bag in case you want to work or read on your commute. LuggageOnline.com sells sets of inexpensive, disposable earplugs in a small travel case (see Resources below).
Bring your MP3 player or portable radio and headphones so you can block out crowd noise and enjoy your music during the ride. Invest in a pair of foldable, noise-canceling headphones at TravelProducts.com (see Resources below). The headphones reduce noise up to 20 percent more than similar products.
Strike up a conversation with your neighbor. Socializing is a great way to pass the travel time, and you may make a new friend who lives or works near you.