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In partnership with The Fresh Toast

Public transportation is very convenient, even if it’s become a complex issue due to the pandemic. Here’s how you can stay as safe as possible when using public transportation.

Public transportation, one of the best features of big cities, has been severely challenged over the past couple of months. Though convenient and cost effective, buses, subways and trains aren’t known for their health measures and distance between passengers. Those are just some factors that make them tough to navigate when living in a pandemic.

Offices, schools and all sorts of businesses are working out plans to reopen, and while these might take a while or may be plagued by false starts, at some point people who need to move around are going to have to go back to using public transportation.

Here are some tips that can help you stay as safe as possible when using public transportation:

Weigh your options

Different modes of public transportation have their risks and perks. Consider your travel time and whether you’ll be spending time indoors or outdoors, generally leaning towards the option that’s briefest and that allows you to have some fresh air. No matter what you’re using, try to avoid peak hours, that way you’ll ride the bus or the train when it’s as empty as possible.

If you can, find a spot with airflow

City subway platform lit with signs and commuters walking to their destination
Photo by Osman Rana/Unsplash

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If you’re riding the bus, try to find a window seat and crack it open if possible. If you’re taking the subway, be sure to use escalators and stairs over elevators, avoiding cluttered elevators whenever possible.

Limit your touching

When using public transportation, it’s important to remember the rules that were first established in March: hand washing is vital. Wash up before you leave your house and the minute you get to your destination, avoiding touching your face and interacting with high touch surfaces, such as subway and bus poles and rails on the ferry deck. Avoid interacting with touch screens and elevator buttons. Do some research and try to always use contact less payment options.

Follow the new rules and guidelines

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Photo by Ada Yokota/Getty Images

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Public transportation departments have developed guidelines and rules to follow during the pandemic, posting signaling stickers and notices informing people where to stand and reminding them to wash their hands, use hand sanitizer and stay 6 feet apart from others. Be on the lookout for these postings and mindful of other people’s spaces.

Avoid eating and talking

Scientists believe that Japan’s capacity to contain the coronavirus spread is due to the fact that they… are very polite while riding the subway. The Japanese aren’t used to talking loudly while using public transportation or having their breakfast there. They respect other people’s commute. That’s certainly not the case in America.

Eating asks us to remove our masks and to handle our food in a space where there’s a lot of factors to account for. When it comes to talking, the act of it sprays saliva that can carry virus droplets, with the louder you speak the more likely it is for your particles to travel long stretches of space.

Read more on The Fresh Toast