Public transportation use is a really useful way for a traveler to save money, weather as a local or as a tourist. However, public transportation safety is something that has to be taken seriously, especially if you travel to another country or city. If you want to be sure that you will be safe, here are some great public transport travel safety tips from Umberto de Pretto, IRU Secretary General.
Look For Official Permits And Badges
Legitimate bus drivers or taxi drivers have badges displayed. This is why it is a good idea to just look around and find them. Do not use public transport if you do not see such badges being displayed. After you spot the badge, look at the picture and see if the person in it does look like the driver.
As an example, in the US we have taxi drivers displaying permits but it is difficult to figure out if a bus or a taxi is official in other countries. If you are traveling, talk with the local police officers or with hotel concierge in order to see if local bus and taxi companies require their drivers to display such badges. You can learn a lot about local public transport from such people.
Note Colors And Logos
You want to take note of colors and logos for local buses and taxes, although you might not need such an option when you do. It helps you to spot the legitimate options from those that are fake. The fake cabs are often used by criminals. They take advantage of locals and tourists in various ways. There are even regions around the world where fake taxes are utilized to kidnap tourists. You want to avoid dangerous rides so know how to distinguish legitimate buses and taxes.
Always Stay Alert
Most people are tempted to check messages, read books or even sleep while using public transportation. This is basically a great way to have your camera, backpack, wallet and other items stolen. In addition, you can end up in a completely strange place where the bus line ends and you cannot get back with regular public transport when you sleep way too long. Be sure you stay alert and awake even if you are really tired. Many do not do this when they are in a taxi but remember that drivers can be dangerous, just like common criminals.
Control Packages And Bags
Similarly to at the airport, you want to control packages and bags if you want them to remain in your possession. If you have many it is easy to misplace some, which is something you surely do not want to see happen. A common practice among more sophisticated thieves is to switch out bags that look very similar to yours. If you are not attentive, you end up with something that you definitely do not want and you lose your belongings.
As you use public transportation, bunch bags between feet or really close on the seat next to you. Keep hold of the bags as you are standing.