How to *actually* take the bus in Victoria

Victoria, we need to talk.

As UVic students, we pay about $80/semester to use the Victoria Regional Transit System. According to BC Transit, Victorians take about 27 million trips a year on one of its 350 buses. UVic is home to Vancouver Island’s second busiest bus exchange, and so for many students, the bus is a daily reality… but what if I told you that it was possible to make you bus experience even better? Here are my no-fail tips on how to take the bus:

There’s an app for that

There’s nothing more embarrassing than running for a bus only to get left behind. I’ve been the one on the bus watching someone run as if they’ve never ran before for the bus driver to slowly pull away, and I’ve also been the person running, tears welling in my eyes as I learn that I have to wait 20 minutes for the next bus.

You can avoid this awkward experience by downloading the two apps I use religiously for taking the bus: the Transit app and Google Maps. The Transit app is great for finding what time the buses leaving from stops near me will leave, but I like to use Google Maps to find the best routes to get me there. When you combine both of them, you’ll be running these streets like a pro.

It’s no surprise you’re paying

Buses here are often behind schedule and nothing takes more time than for someone getting on to pull out their wallet, fish through 42 different cards in their wallet and finally swipe on (after 3 tries).

Taking less than 15 seconds to have your ONECard in hand or your $5 bill at the ready makes taking the bus so much smoother! You save so much time for everybody else and nothing looks sexier than having your card out and hearing that beep on your first try.

The coolest kids move to the back of the bus

It’s important to remember that public transit is public: when the buses aren’t busy, of course you can practice some physical distancing by taking up your own seat (and should!), but when you notice that it’s getting a bit busier, let someone sit beside you, or if you weren’t lucky getting a seat, start by filling up the back of the bus first – that way more people can get on. You’d appreciate that if you were in the same position, right?

Your music is for you, not others

After a long day at school or work, nothing makes me more miserable than someone loudly talking on their phone or performing a whole concert on the bus.

I get it – that new Lizzo song is catchy, but I’d rather be listening to a bunch of TikToks of her music at home, especially if I’m going home after a long day.

Say “thank you” to your bus driver

If you’ve taken a bus even just, like, 5 times in the past year, you know that there can be some pretty unexpected things that can happen on buses in Victoria.

It’s good practice to say “thank you” as you get off the bus. Being an operator is a thankless job, so hearing a little bit of appreciation can go a long way!

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