How to Ride a Bus


Josh Bowman is spending the next couple of weeks offering tips on how to do basic activities (you’re welcome). Today: riding a bus.

  1. Clipping your nails is fine in private. Insanely gross on a bus. Spitting, same thing. Eating hard-boiled eggs, same thing. Masturbating…
  2. Offer your seat to pregnant women, elderly people, and nurses. Listening to an ipod is not an excuse.
  3. Headphones are great. Invest in a pair, so that everybody on the bus doesn’t have to hear that new Waka Flocka Flame song.
  4. Rush hour is not the time to read a huge newspaper, unless you somehow get a seat.
  5. There is good talking to strangers and bad talking to strangers. Good: a kid drops an ice cream cone and a nearby dog licks it up. You should feel free to smile at your neighbours and remark how cute it is. Bad: a young woman is reading a book with headphones on, and you want to describe your boner. Nope. Don’t do it.
  6. Don’t bug the driver unless you have something to say that is related to the place you are going on the bus, and you require help in getting there.
  7. Ring the bell before your stop. Not after. Not during.
  8. Yes, everybody is super impressed that you were almost in a fight last night. You are a tough guy. Now please stop talking for the next five minutes.
  9. Don’t pee on the seats. Sidebar to everybody: check seats for pee. It only takes a second, and it could save your pants and your dignity.
  10. Close your umbrella.

—Photo epsos/Flickr

About Josh Bowman

Josh Bowman is a professional fundraiser, story-teller, comedian, and blogger. He has worked and consulted in Vancouver, New York, and now Toronto for almost a decade. Josh improvises around Toronto, including regular shows with Opening Night Theatre, and also blogs for the Huffington Post. You can email Josh here.. If you want to know more about Josh, check this post and this post out first.


  1. Heriberto Vizcarra says:

    I once got an earful from a woman in a light rail train who said I should scoot over to the end of the 3-seat bench to let women sit away from me. There were other 6 empty seats, all of them next to men in 2-seat benches. She shouted at me and said my mother had made a very poor job at raising me.
    “You just needed to ask”, I said. “I should need to”, she answered.
    Being a minority in a mostly Caucasian-populated state -and quite unsightly myself-, I am used to women not wanting to sit or stand next to me, sometimes not even to take the seat I am offering to them, and after a while of enduring my chronic pain, I decided to stop offering the seat to standing women if there were other seats available. But I do ALWAYS offer my seat to pregnant and elderly people when it’s nearer to them.
    She was not pregnant or elderly.

  2. I am now wallowing in my privilege of having a car and living in a place where car transportation is easy and painless and pretty much never involves strangers’ pee. I’m half-serious, though. I don’t know how you city slickers do it, relying on public transportation so much.

    Of course, the way we do it out here isn’t much better. Between the commuter cars with generally 1 person per vehicle and the fact that I-75 is a major, major vein for big-rig shipping, the expressways that run through my city, all six of them, are clogged to hell every morning and afternoon. I used to have to sit in that gridlock every morning, and eventually it wasn’t even the frustration of traffic or dealing with other drivers that got to me, it was just sitting motionless in a parking lot of fumes. I got to work many days with a headache.

    But still. I think I would go nuts living in a city where public transit is the norm. I can’t even imagine not having my own car, the way (as I understand it) many city-dwellers do. (Do you guys just never leave the city? Is that how that works?)

  3. How would you know whether s/he’s a nurse, nurse’s aid, a phlebotomy technician, or lab technician? They tend to dress the same? Do you ask?

    What if it’s a male nurse? Do you have to give your seat to him too? What about a man is skinny but unfortunately has the belly of a pregnant person? Never mind. I’ll just drive.

    • Heriberto Vizcarra says:

      A male nurse? I never considered that option. I would give them the seat. It’s the profession, not the gender that should earn them the privilege, right?

  4. dont spit and hit the bus driver either, or you might get a mortal kombat ‘finish him’ punch

  5. Joanna Schroeder says:

    I’m glad you said that about the pee, because I was just about to get on a bus and pee on the seat.

    • Nick, mostly says:

      Joanna, do you ride the bus? Because when I read the headline I immediately thought, “he’s probably not going to list ‘Don’t pee on the seats.'” and was pleasantly surprised when he did. Perhaps this doesn’t happen in La-La Land?

  6. Don’t sit with your legs wide apart and touch with your legs the person next to you…

    Don’t grind up or push your pelvis anywhere near the person next to you….

    Don’t try to touch/ grope the person next to you if she is falling asleep…

  7. GirlGlad4TheGMP says:

    Extension to #8: If you WERE in a fight last night, please clean the blood off of your face/hands/clothes BEFORE you hop on public transit in the middle of the afternoon.

    11. Don’t cop a feel when you’re trying to push past people. There’s a brush-by, and it doesn’t include cupping or any other rigorous hand motions for extended periods.

    12. Use your cellphone sparingly. It’s ok to quietly ask if you should pick up a roast for dinner. It’s not ok to advertise all the goings-on at last night’s gathering, interspersed by such radiant commentary as “Oh my God” or “No way”.
    13. If you see someone trying to get on/off with luggage, or a stroller or just plainly having difficulty getting on/off the bus, chill out and let them do what they need to do. Don’t push past them or make loud grumbling or sighing sounds. It’s insensitive and just adds more stress to a person already struggling. Either help out or wait quietly.
    14. If you’re sick and hacking, cover your mouth!!! Nobody wants ANY of what you’re having, trust me.

  8. delia vincente says:

    Number 8 should be number 1: Most men talk insanely loud about insanely boring stuff in public spheres, claiming space as if they were alone on the planet, while only very few clip their nails riding buses.

    • Really? Interesting….after years on nyc mass transit buses/trains I’ve always found the women to talk loud and about “odd” topics. The women tend to travel in groups vs. men traveling alone.

  9. Thanks for the tips. I would have done it all wrong!


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