The best advice my O&M teacher gave me? “No surprises.” This means doing recon before riding to determine the safest, most logical route, door to door. Once I know which bus I should be taking, I get out there.
Things that make it easier for me to catch and ride and exit the bus:
- I watch for the bus using my monocular to read the digital display on the front and sides of the vehicle. I can read the bus shelter sign from across the street in a new area, saving me a fruitless street crossing.
- As I wait, I hold my white cane prominently, alerting the driver of my visual impairment. I listen for the voice announcement, “This is the No. X Bus to Town Name.” As I prepare to board, I listen for the doors to open and for disembarking riders.
- If I’m unsure, I verify “Is this the No. X bus to My Stop Name?” with the driver before boarding.
- I use a bus fare card, reloadable online, instead of fumbling with cash and coins.
- If I can’t discern an empty seat farther back, I sit up front in the seniors/riders with disabilities section. Some days I need to close my eyes and rest, my vision hazy for one reason or another, or the weather leads to inclement conditions and I feel better exiting up front.
- As I ride, I locate the stop request lines or buttons, either by recognizing the bus style or by watching and listening to others. I will ask another rider to request my stop for me if I’m unsure or if the alert closest to me is broken.
- I don’t use my phone or listen to music on the bus. I stay focused on the riders around me and the progress of the bus. I don’t put my bag on the empty seat next to me; I respect shared public spaces. I’m prepared to exit when my corner arrives.
- I tell the driver thank you if I exit up front. I notice at this point which of the regular bus drivers give me two more seconds to board or pull past the snow drift when letting me off; it’s nice to be able to recognize my favorite drivers and stay visible to less aware ones.
Do you like riding the bus? What makes your ride a success?