I live in the suburbs and work in a major metropolitan city. As much as I hate to depend on public transportation, I find myself riding a commuter bus daily in my commute to/from work. It is approximately a 30-mile 75-minute bus ride with only the first/last 15 minutes being stops, and the rest of the trip is highway driving.
I hate being restricted to the bus's schedule and route, and I hate not having my vehicle with me (and the gear in it). I hate depending on the shoddy maintenance that the buses receive. I hate sharing space with other passengers who may be unpredictable. The bus allows concealed carry, but my workplace does not, and I have nowhere to secure a firearm downtown, so I am unable to bring one at all. Taking the bus saves me $700 per month in fuel and parking, it saves wear and tear on the car, and it gives me an about an hour of nap/reading time each way. And riding the bus is "green" if you're into that sort of thing. Due to the nature of my job, and the nature of the other passengers' jobs, I am dressed more sharply than most anyone on the bus, so being a "gray man" is next to impossible.
Alas, the advantages unfortunately outweigh the disadvantages, and I take the bus to work 5-days a week (for now). What tips does everyone have for "tactical" bus riding? Here are some tips I already observe for my own safety, comfort, and situational awareness:
- Sitting in the rear half of the bus, in a window seat next to an emergency window exit.
- Not sitting directly under air conditioning units, as these always drip condensation on me.
- Keeping an eye on fellow passengers, identifying who is totally oblivious, who might be a threat, and who might be able to back me up.
- Only napping during the highway portion of the trip, and if I do nap, looping the strap of my backpack through my belt so nobody can steal it without pulling me along for the ride.
- While waiting for the bus, trying not to be a sitting duck and keeping my head on a swivel.
- Observing patterns about which passengers board and exit at which stops, and noticing when a pattern is disrupted.
- Trying to obscure my own patterns by changing the stops I get on and off at randomly.
What else can I do?