Tips for staying safe on public transit - Keeping Canada Safe - CBC-TV
Tips for staying safe on public transit
Tips for staying safe on public transit

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Public transit is a great way to get around. It saves you money, it’s efficient, and it’s better for the environment than driving your car.

And with a little common sense, public transit is definitely a safe way to travel. In fact, a recent study revealed that property crimes are 500 times more common for motorists than for transit passengers. And violent crime risks on transit are small compared with the risk of traffic accidents for private vehicles.

Know your route and schedule. Avoid waiting at dark bus stops or on dark platforms. Try to get on and off in well-lit areas or where there are other people. Make sure you know when the last run is so you don’t get stranded. If you’re travelling alone late at night, let someone know when you expect to reach your destination, then let them know when you’ve arrived.

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Know the fare. Have your payment ready to avoid fumbling through your bag to look for your pass or the correct change. Have it ready in your hand and make sure your bag is properly closed as you board.

If possible, sit near the driver. Avoid sitting next to a rear door; it’s a common place for a snatch-and-go theft. If you feel uncomfortable with someone sitting nearby, try to change seats. Locate the emergency button, pull-cord, or have your phone handy in case you need to call for help.

Keep your personal belongings close to you. Put them on your lap or in front of you between your feet. If you’re standing, keep your belongings close in front of you. Don’t carry your wallet or phone in a back pocket. Be aware of anyone trying to divert your attention; a thief may grab your bag while you’re distracted.

Stay alert and show confidence. Be aware of your surroundings. It’s easy to tune out if you’re on your phone or listening to music. Don’t fall asleep—you become an easy target. It’s fine to chat with other passengers, but don’t divulge personal information.

Keep your electronic devices out of sight. Flashing phones, tablets and other expensive devices can make you a target for a robbery. 

Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable about getting onto a subway/skytrain car, a bus or into a taxi, don’t. Wait for the next one.

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Use your voice. If someone attacks or touches you, shout as loudly as you can to get the attention of other passengers and/or the driver. Use specific language such as, “Don’t touch me!” or “Stay away from me.”

Don’t be a bystander. If you witness someone being harassed or attacked, be an advocate. Consider possible actions that won’t put you or anyone else in harm’s way, and take a stand.

Learn basic self-defence moves. Consider carrying a whistle to attract attention.

Don’t walk home alone in the dark. Check to see if your transit system allows you to get off between designated stops, closer to your destination or to a well-lit or busy area. A criminal may follow you, so try to arrange for someone to meet you at your stop. Or walk, even part way, with a fellow passenger.

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