Get on the bus! File photo: Redwood Transit Authority.

One of my favorite things everyday is my bus ride to work. Seriously. I get 20 minutes to myself, where I can sit and read the New York Times (or, let’s be serious, scroll on Instagram). Because someone else is driving, I get to lazily look out the window at Humboldt Bay. I get a little exercise on the walk to my bus stop. And perhaps best of all, I save on gas (which makes me feel good, as I want to do things to address the climate crisis and I am cheap).

In efforts to bolster the league of bus riders, here’s a helpful guide on how to ride the bus!

Find Your Route: Let’s say you want to get somewhere but you don’t know the schedule. Never fear! Using Google Maps, you can find directions by public transit. (Google Maps is even so kind to tell you when you need to walk out the door to make it to your bus stop.) Prefer to look at route maps instead? I got you, fam.

Where’s My Bus? Now that you are at your bus stop, you might be curious when your bus will arrive. There’s an app for that! Track the location of your bus in real time on the Transit app, available for Android and iPhone. (Or just chill. The bus will get there, almost always on time.)

How to Pay: There are three ways to pay your fare: (1) Purchase discounted multi-ride or monthly passes online, onboard the bus, or at the Humboldt Transit Authority office; (2) Use the Token Transit app on your mobile device (my preferred method); or (3) Pay on the bus with exact change. Pro tip: You get a price discount for both passes and for Token Transit, available on Android or iPhone.

Want to Bring a Bike? I like your style. Buses are equipped with front-mounted bike racks. Remove panniers and anything else that might fall from your bike. Pull down the front rack by squeezing the latch handle, lift your bike so your front wheel matches the location marked on the bike rack, raise the support arm and lower it onto your wheel. When getting off, be sure to let the bus driver know that you will be collecting your bike.

Bus Etiquette: Pull the cord with plenty of time before your stop (and if you don’t know what stop is best, ask the driver when getting on). Don’t man-spread. Don’t block a seat with your bag if the bus is full. Get off using the backdoor (unless you have a special reason) to avoid a traffic jam with those getting on. And thank your bus driver for ferrying you safely.

I hope to see you on the bus!


Tom Wheeler is the vice-president of the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities and the host of The Econews Report.