Tips for people using public transportation for the first time. Whether you’re moving to a big city or just visiting, these will help you adapt (survive).
This year I moved from Miami to DC. In Miami, a car is an absolute necessity (terrible city planning, crap public transportation). I was actually quite excited to move to DC knowing I’d ditch my car and ride the rails. I was tired of spending hours daily in bumper-to-bumper traffic, wasting away in the Miami heat. While I now sit in a different kind of traffic on DC’s metro, I’ve taken back control of my time. I can read, write (this blog post) or just enjoy the ride. No more stress or road rage. Plus I am saving loads of money.
How to become a Public Commuter Pro
There are lessons and etiquette to taking public transportation. I’m writing this because I had to figure this out on my own (on my first day of work). There’s so much I wish someone would’ve told me ahead of time to save money and blisters.
Familiarize yourself with your Local Public Transportation System
Take a day to ride you local buses or trains far and about. Go to Eventbrite to find free events across town, buy an all-day rider pass and go out on an adventure. It’ll be a fun way to learn how your system works: how to pay for fare, use their ticketing system, jump trains and buses.
Plan your Commute
Google is your BFF. First, you can google your local public transportation system: DC’s called WMATA, NY’s MTA, Philly’s SEPTA. These typically have maps and “trip builders” to guide you. These also usually have apps. Personally, my go-to is Google Maps because they offer directions to the sections you’ll need to walk for.
While on the website of your public transport, look into what passes they offer. It could range from weekly to monthly. They offer a great discount for frequent riders. They also have auto-pay, so you’ll never have to run late anywhere to stop and refill your account.
Invest in Shoes
Being from Miami, I’m used to wearing heels to make a good impression. Pretty easy to be in heels at work when you drive everywhere and sit all day at the office. Not the same when you ditch your car. You can either invest in comfortable, trendy shoes (check out Everlane). Or you can wear shoes specifically for your commute, then switch to your office shoes. Personally, I have a long ride and a heavy foot. I know I will destroy whatever shoes I wear to get to my destination, so I invested in walking flats and sneakers.
Invest in Bags
When you commute, you need to be ready for whatever, especially if you’re far from home. Its important to carry necessities: laptop, workout clothes, food, all kinds of chargers. It’s a common sight to see people carrying book bags or multiple bags. If you’re going for multiple bags, make sure you invest in something nylon - it’s perfect for all types of weather. If you don’t want to ruin your “look” with a chunky book bag, there’s alternatives. Consider my personal fave Dagne Dover. They’re stylish AF and functional, which is what we should all be striving for.
With this info, you can sit back, relax and listen to your favorite podcast in no time. Happy commuting!