December 2, 2022

Top 6 Winter Public Transit Tips

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Winter has officially arrived, and it’s been especially cold in some places! We love that the inner-city allows us to enjoy car-free living and access to great transit services, but it’s important to ensure that you’re being careful and safe when using those transit services over the winter. Here are some tips to keep you warm and comfy during your transit commutes this season!

1. Walk, don’t run for your bus
When we’re running, it’s hard to keep a close eye on where we’re going, especially when we’re late for something. Our eyes are fixated on that departing bus, and not the patch of ice we’re about to take a tumble on. Stay alert and ensure you leave yourself ample time, don’t risk falling and injuring yourself because you wanted to sleep an extra five minutes!

2. Wear something reflective so you’re easy to spot (and hard to miss!)
One thing about wintertime we all know is that it means we enjoy a lot less sunlight than we do in the summer. That means a lot of our commute can take place when it’s still dark out, so help the bus driver and all drivers see you more easily in that low light by wearing something reflective.

3. Wear proper footwear
It’s absolutely crucial to have footwear that will function in all types of weather conditions, and that means something that has...
i. Good tread – A good tread provides traction, it will ensure you don’t lose your footing in snowy, slushy, slippery conditions. Many stores and even Amazon also sell easy-to-use, strap-on rubber cleats for traction that you can keep in your bag and just throw on when it’s really icy.
ii. Good warmth – This is important to protect against the cold. It may not be that chilly when you leave your home at 2 PM on Saturday, but coming home at 9 PM will be a different story!
iii. Well-made – It’s important to do your research and invest in a good pair of winter shoes so they can last you for more than one season, and more importantly, so they can be relied upon to perform throughout this season. Check Consumer Reports-type sites and similar expert sources that aren’t biased.

4. Dress Warmly!
This may seem obvious, but Canadian winter means that even if you’re only planning to pop out for a few minutes, or even if your travel plan only calls for you to be outside for a few minutes of your trip, you should be dressed as if you could be outside for hours. Whether it’s something as silly as forgetting your keys and being locked out, something as serious as an accident where you’re outside the vehicle for a period of time, or any number of other possible scenarios, dress “as if”, meaning as if you could be outside for awhile. Your choice whether or not that preparation includes a crazy carpet.

5. Plan for a longer commute time
One thing about winter weather is its unpredictability, especially in parts of the country close to mountain ranges or large bodies of water, where precipitation can strike at any time. From delays caused by the fact that more people get sick during the winter meaning fewer drivers are available, to delays caused by road conditions and delays caused by other vehicles getting into accidents with one another, it’s important to leave extra time for unforeseen events.

6. Watch for your bus!
While other forms of transit like subways and LRTs run on rails, busses have to operate on roads that aren’t always adequately cleared, especially where bus stop alcoves are concerned. Other issues including slippery hills and related road conditions can sometimes force a bus driver to stop a slight distance from where the official bus stop is marked, this is for safety reasons. That means that in order to ensure you catch your bus, it’s important to look up from your phone and check for it more frequently as its arrival time approaches!

Whatever has you heading out of the house this winter, we hope you stay warm and safe and have a fantastic time! Let us know if we missed any of your favourite tips!