• Donica McNeill-Taylor

Safety tips while using public transportation and ridehailing

Updated: Jan 9


As a mother of three, I have become concerned with the safety of my children and I while using public transportation since I noticed an increase in news about crime and public transportation. I have started to educate my family and I more on travel safety tips for public transportation. I use our local transit, Uber, and Lyft to commute to the DC Metropolitan area. When traveling, I have implemented these safety tips and I think it would be helpful to bring further awareness to others who use public transportation.

Listed below you can find safety tips from WMATA, Uber, and Lyft. Click on the links for additional information.


WMATA Safety Tips

On Buses

  • In case of threatening or disruptive behavior aboard the bus, an operator can activate a silent alarm that goes through Central Control to the police. The disruptive passenger has no way of knowing the alarm has been activated or that police are on their way. When the alarm is activated, the destination sign on most buses automatically changes to EMERGENCY! CALL POLICE and the outside running lights flash to let approaching police know which bus sent out the alarm.

  • In any other type of emergency, the bus operator can call central control on the bus radio to request the help needed.

On Trains

  • Call boxes at the end of each rail car enable any rider to report an emergency to the operator. The train operator is in constant radio communication with Central Control.

  • Every rail car has an emergency door release behind the panel next to the middle doors. The panel carries instructions for releasing the doors and evacuating passengers.

  • Door chimes alert passengers to stay clear of the doors as they open or close.

  • The train operator has ready access to an emergency button that instantly locks all the wheels on the train.

Uber and Lyft Safety Tips

  • Wait for your ride in a safe place

  • Always ask “What’s my name?”

  • Verify the car and driver.

  • You must also match the make, model, and license plate of the car to what is listed in the app. Make sure their personal appearance matches their profile photo.

  • Do not ride alone.

  • Use trip-sharing features.

  • Let the driver know that the trip is being tracked.

  • Choose where to sit wisely.

  • Be a good passenger. Wear your seatbelt, do not distract the driver or ask them to do anything dangerous. If sharing the ride, be courteous to other passengers.

  • Do not share personal information.

  • If anything seems “off” about your driver, car, route, or anything else, speak up. Prioritize your own wellbeing over your passenger rating. Do not get in the car if your instincts are tingling. End the ride if you are not comfortable, as long as you’re in a safe place to exit and find another ride.

  • Give feedback about your trip and driver.

  • If you were sketched out by anything that happened during your ride, don’t hesitate to report it. You might have avoided harm or trauma, but the next person might not be so unfortunate. Do your part to help cull problematic drivers from the pool.

Please share any safety tips that you have used that can help someone else!



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