Depending on where you will be traveling to, public transportation may be a useful way to navigate the city that you will be living in for the foreseeable future. If you have never used public transportation before, it may seem like a daunting and scary experience. However, after some time, you will be surprised at how intuitive it is to make use of these services. 

Paying for Use

Many systems allow the public to purchase cards or passes. The main difference between these is that metro cards generally contain a monetary value that you load onto it or several admissions onto public transport that you must pay for. Meaning, you may have a metro card, but you must go to a kiosk and pay to have a certain number of admissions loaded onto your card. On the other hand, passes are good for a period of time. The longer your pass is good for, the better rate you will have. This is just a broad description of how some systems work, it is highly recommended that you do further research into how your city operates. 

Choosing A Service 

So, you have paid to use public transportation and you are ready to travel throughout the city. Your next question should be ‘How do I choose a service?’ This is where our modern technology becomes helpful. With both Google and Apple Maps, you can specify the location you are traveling to and indicate you would like to use public transportation. You then will have a variety of options depending on what is available in your city. You can take a bus line that takes you within ten minutes walking distance. Or you could be provided with an option that has you take a metro line for the first part of your journey, then finish by hopping on a bus line to take you the rest of the way there. I just choose the fastest option that has the fewest number of transitions between different forms of public transport. 

Utilizing the Service 

Again, assuming you have never used public transport, you may not know how to board a service like the metro or bus. If this is the case, then I would abide by the advice of “Do as the locals do” Meaning, watch the people in front of you to see what they are doing as you get closer to boarding. If it is the metro line that you are taking, then pay attention to how they swipe to enter. If it is the bus line you are hopping on, pay attention to where they swipe their card. You should always be observant of your surroundings and what others around you are doing. I have found this to be especially true when traveling in the city with these services. But of course, there is more than likely information online that will walk you through your city’s services as well. 

Know Your Stop 

Once you are on, it can be easy to let your mind drift. However, you must remain aware of when you will be getting off. If traveling with a group of friends, always be sure that everyone knows how many stops you sit through before getting off. There are times when it may be crowded and force you to separate. 


Public transportation is a prime opportunity for many thieves to carry out their work. While reaching up to hold on to the railing, you may inadvertently be leaving your pocket prime to be picked. To help with this, always be aware of whether anyone is around you. Be sure to place your hand not being used for support in your pocket. If you can choose an arm to use for support, choose the side that is not facing anyone. If you don’t have pockets but carry a bag, then be sure to have it placed in front of you. 

Enjoy the Ride 

Using public transportation in a new city can be a lot of fun! Be sure that you know what to expect before you ever hop on though!