I began teaching myself how to ride public mass transit buses about two months before my 18th birthday. I didn't want to rely on my parents like they were my taxi or something. I had a temporary driver's license, but became extremely nervous every time I practiced driving my father's old 1990 Geo Prizm base model. So, I contacted Cincinnati Metro to find out which routes I needed to go from the house where I grew up to my therapist's office, and attempted to travel there alone on the buses. I did well from the first attempt forward. There was one time, however, when I mistakenly crossed the street when I was supposed to catch the bus on the same side of the street where I already was, and I ended up in a very dangerous neighborhood. The bus took me back into Downtown Cincinnati soon thereafter and no one threatened me.
For those of you who want to try riding the bus on your own, here are some steps to consider:
Step 1: Choose a destination
Step 2: Find your local transit agency
Step 3: Contact your local transit agency and ask what bus routes go from your home to that destination
Step 4: Obtain schedules for those routes. Schedules vary by the day. Some routes are weekdays only.
Step 5: Decide how frequently you will be riding the bus so that you can determine whether you should buy a bus pass, or pay for each ride individually. For a monthly pass, disabled fare in Orange
County, CA is $22.25 per 30 days. A single ride in Orange County, CA is $2.00
Step 6: Find the nearest bus stop and figure out if you can walk there or need a ride there
Step 7: When the bus pulls up, wait for passengers to get off, and then get on the bus
Step 8: If you have a monthly pass, you swipe your pass in the fare box, which is at the entrance of the bus. If you are paying a single fare, you pay in dollar bills to the fare box, you must have exact change—you can use dollar bills or coins, but pennies are not accepted
Step 9: Find an available, comfortable seat. Some tips to choose the right seat: If you are prone to stress from loud noises (like I am), try not to sit next to a young child, have a source of music or white noise and headphones, if you are prone to panic attacks or claustrophobic choose a seat near the exit
Step 10: Recorded announcements are played for major landmarks and transfer points, so make sure you pay attention, and if you are listening to music the announcements are also displayed. If you are not planning to get off at a major landmark, make sure you are watching as you approach each stop to see if it’s your stop
Step 11: Walk or get a ride from your bus stop to your destination