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10 Ways for how to Stay Upright on a Crowded Bus

Updated on October 25, 2010

Do you ever have to ride the public transit system in your area? If so then there’s a good chance that you live in a place where the buses, trains and light rail systems get crowded. In cities like San Francisco and New York, you have to learn quickly how to keep your balance on a crowded, lurching, busy bus or subway train. After watching people on the bus for awhile you’ll figure out that there are actually a lot of different methods of making sure that you don’t topple over when you’re riding a crowded bus.

The top ten ways of staying upright on a crowded bus are:

1.     The Sardine Method. If the bus is truly crowded then you can just cram into the crowd as tightly as possible. As more and more people pile on to the bus, you’ll get crammed in with everyone else even tighter. You won’t even have to hold on to stay upright because all of the bodies around you will keep you in place. This is most effective when you have a long trip to go because otherwise you’re going to find it difficult to get out of the middle of the crowd when your stop comes along.

2.     Hang On Tight. Buses have poles and overhead straps that you can hang on to when you’re standing in a crowd. Grab one of these and use it to keep yourself from moving around too much or falling down. This is one of the most common methods that people use to make sure that they don’t fall down on a crowded moving bus or train.

3.     Find Your Center. If you can’t reach a strap or a pole and there’s not a big enough crowd around you to keep you standing upright then you need to get a little bit more creative if you want to keep from toppling over. Your best bet here is to whip out your yoga skills and try to center yourself in a balanced position on the bus. Stand upright, bend your knees a little, take a wide stance and try to focus your energy on your car. This takes a little bit of work and is best done only when wearing flat shoes but it actually is do-able.

4.     Hang on to the Person Closest to You. If you end up on a crowded bus with a spouse or friend then you can always hang on to them. It is common for the taller of the pair to hold on to the overhead strap or bar and the shorter person to hang on to the taller person for support. Ladies in heels often hang on to their boyfriends in this way. It even makes the trip a little bit more cozy.

5.     Lean into the Seat Near You. Some buses and trains have enough room to where you can lean against a wall or a seat. This means that you don’t have to actually hang on to anything but instead use this backing Uto support you as the bus moves this way and that. It’s not great on a too-lurching bus but it will work on most rides. Put your weight back on your heels as you lean back into the seat or wall to get the best results.

6.     Crouch. You keep your balance a lot better when you’re balled up into a more compact size. If the bus is crowded but not excessively so then you can actually crouch down to prevent yourself from falling. People will definitely give you funny looks but it’s worth it if the alternative is to stand up and fall over on the bus.

7.     Place Heavy Bags All Around You.If you’ve been out shopping all day and have some heavy bags with you then you can plop them around your feet and they should help steady you on the bus or train. Be aware, however, that this leaves you open to being a victim of theft a bit easier than if you had those bags in your hands. If you do this then you want to stay vigilant about those around you to make sure that they aren’t going to grab your bags and run off at the next stop.

8.     Use a cane or walking stick. People who frequently ride on crowded buses might actually want to invest in a walking stick to help them stay upright while they ride. The additional point of contact with the floor will make it easier for you to remain balanced even on the most to-and-fro kind of bus rides. Of course it’s an extra thing that you’ll have to carry with you each day but it’s well worth it. A long umbrella can also be used in this manner.

9.     Place your Feet Correctly. Standing in the right position and moving back and forth with the bus will make it a lot easier for you to remain standing upright. Follow the instructions here to get the hang of this.

10. Force your Way into a Seat. If you’re still having trouble standing on a bus or train then you should probably get a seated position. Look for any empty seats. Make sure to look at those seats where people have placed their bags or are taking up two seats with their wide stance. Go over to them and sit down. They may not like it but they’ll move. Otherwise you can always ask the kindest looking person if you can sit because you’ve had a hard day/ are really tired/ are sick/ are pregnant/ are elderly/ can’t reach the strap to hold on overhead … whatever the reason is that you should have a seat that they’re currently occupying. Most people are surprisingly accommodating if you truly need the seat more than they do.


Submit a Comment
  • H P Roychoudhury profile image

    H P Roychoudhury 

    10 years ago from Guwahati, India

    A great hub. It elaborates nicely how to move in a crowded bus. Thanks for sharing

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    10 years ago from Washington

    Too cute - and love the picture - at my old lady age, I'd be afraid to go into a crouch as I'd probably get really lucky and fart! Good grief - hey - but then I'd have a better spot on the bus I bet because everyone else would get off! Great hub - Audrey


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