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Dear Gabby, How Can I Stay Safe?

Posted October 31st, 2018
Dear Gabby Transit Advice

Gabby has been wanting to share and answer the hundreds of questions you send to her every day.  And now she can!  Gabby is your source for the inside scoop on everything you ever needed to know about mastering the art of public transit.  Email her at deargabby@foothilltransit.org.

Dear Gabby,

The world can be a pretty scary place. There a lot of things I can’t control, but I want to take action where I can. What can I do to protect my safety when I ride the bus?

-Determined in Duarte

Dear Determined in Duarte,

I have good news for you. You’ve already taken a huge step towards safety by choosing to ride the bus. Here’s a study that shows you’re 90 percent safer commuting by transit than by car.

That being said, there a few things you can do to really be a safety superstar.

When you’re at the bus stop, wait for the bus on the sidewalk – NEVER stand in the street. If you’re trying to figure out if your bus is on its way, give NEXTRIP a try on your phone.

Be careful what you bring on board. The idea is to keep things out of the aisles that might move around and hit or trip people. Things that cause slippery surfaces, attract bugs, or catch fire are definite no-nos. So, any food or drink has to be in covered containers with spill-proof lids. Disposable coffee cups and drinks from fast food restaurants don’t have spill-proof lids, so they aren’t allowed on our buses. Do yourself a favor and finish those drinks before you board. Fold your stroller or cart before entering the bus, and store it next to you, out of the aisle. Folding bikes should be collapsed before boarding, and you need to hold it securely in your lap. Flammable-fueled vehicles and hoverboards are not allowed on the bus or in the bike racks. Full-sized, non-folding bicycles go in the bicycle rack at the front of the bus. They can’t be secured inside the bus, so they are not allowed on board. Never used a bicycle rack? We’ve got a how-to video for you.

By the way, when you board the electric buses on Line 291 at the Pomona Transit Center or Line 280 at the Azusa Intermodal Transit Center, be aware that the buses will briefly stop, and then they’ll move forward again into their charging stations. Don’t be fooled by that brief pause! Wait until the bus has come to a full stop before you load your bike on the bicycle rack or board the bus.

Once you’re on board, take a seat if you can, or hold on to a pole or strap. Make sure you’re behind the yellow line. In fact, move as far back as you can. That’s not a safety issue; it makes sure the people behind you can board quickly and you can get on your way.

Sometimes it’s people who are unsafe. Foothill Transit reserves the right to expel or exclude customers from service for unsafe or abusive behavior. Be kind. The bus is for all of us. Just so you know, plain-clothed law enforcement or security officers may be on board. Security cameras may be in operation. We will not tolerate threatening or intimidating behavior against other customers or bus operators; we will contact law enforcement for assistance if this behavior is displayed. If you see something, say something: report it to your bus operator immediately.

When you arrive, wait until the bus comes to a complete stop before getting up to exit the bus, and watch your step and use the handrails on your way out. Once you get where you’re going, you might want to wash your hands, especially if you get sick easily or we’re in the middle of flu season. But that’s good advice any time you go out!

One last note – earthquake preparedness is a big deal where we live. That’s why we practice every year what to do if you’re on the bus when the shaking starts. (We participate in the Great California ShakeOut.) The main thing to look out for in an earthquake is broken glass and things falling on you. So in case of an earthquake, your bus operator will pull over, and you should turn away from the windows and cover your head with your hands.

I wish you safe and happy travels. To your health!

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