May in Motion--Busing it to Work

Riding the bus to work is an easy, inexpensive, and low-stress way to commute. However, it can be a little confusing if you haven’t ever ridden before. Here are a few insider tips from a frequent traveler to help you get started.

Catching the Bus
  • Valley Ride has a lot of routes throughout Boise and the surrounding areas. A complete list of options can be found on the Valley Ride website.
  • To figure out which routes are closest to you, first look over the Valley Ride system map. Once you’ve found the specific route you need, look at the map for that particular route. It will list all the official stops allowing you to figure out where you need to go to catch the bus.
  • Some stops are covered by multiple routes. If that is the case, the bus stop sign will list the numbers of the routes that go by that location. Pay close attention to the different schedules as buses run at different times. One route may run throughout the day, while another only runs during rush hours.The maps will also provide Time Points along those routes. Time Points, marked with a number in a square and highlighted in bold, are stops along the route when the bus is supposed to depart at a specific time. This is how Valley Ride builds-in flexibility for things like traffic or weather delays. If a bus is ahead of schedule, it will pause at the Time Point stop until the depart time. If they are running late, they will treat it like a regular stop.
  • You can use the Time Points to estimate when the bus will come by your specific stop. It’s always a good idea to arrive several minutes early to make certain you don’t miss your bus.
  • Another useful tool is the Bus Locator Portal. If you have internet access, you can track your bus as it moves along its route.
  • Riding the bus is great, but sometimes you need to go a little further where there is no route. Bringing your bike is a great solution, but it may seem a little cumbersome when you first try to put your bike on the front of the bus. Check out this video for a quick How To:

Riding the Bus
  • As a member of the Boise State community, you get to ride the bus for free! Stop by the Information Desk in the Student Union and pick up a bus sticker for your ID, then show that to the driver when you get on. If the bus isn’t very full, feel free to spread out and use the seats around you for your bags and extra things. However, keep an eye out for when more passengers get on. If the bus starts to fill up, be sure to move your belongings.
  • Don’t make it difficult for another passenger to sit down by refusing to move over from the aisle seat. Buses aren’t airplanes. The drivers can’t wait for everyone to get perfectly settled before taking off. Hogging two seats is especially annoying during rush hour.
  • If you see a friend on the bus, move over to chat with them. One of the great benefits of riding the bus is time to catch up with folks. However, it’s not fun for other passengers when they have to listen to you yelling/talking loudly down the length of the bus.
  • Be prepared to give up your seat for passengers using wheelchairs, scooters, or other similar equipment. This is an official Valley Ride rule.
  • Offer to give up your seat to those with greater need: parents with strollers/multiple kids, passengers with many/heavy packages, etc. Generally being thoughtful of your fellow passengers will always earn you some good karma points.

Exiting the Bus
  • It can be easy to get absorbed in your favorite book, so be sure to keep an eye out for your desired stop.
  • When you get a block or two from your stop, pull the yellow cord which is strung along the side of the bus. A red light in the front of the bus will come on which will notify the driver that you would like to get off.
  • Preferably exit off the back of the bus, especially if there are a passengers waiting outside to get on.
  • If you brought your bike, notify the driver that you need to grab your bike. This is helpful as they may not be aware that you are going to step in front of the bus.
  • When leaving, be sure to offer your thanks to your driver. Not only is it a nice thing for your hard working driver to hear, it's good form as courteous passenger.

A Few Extra Tips
  • Drivers are great source of information and when not driving are usually able to answer any questions you have.
  • Some of your fellow passengers may be Travel Information Volunteers who are available to help riders navigate the bus system. Look for the Travel Information Volunteer vest the next time you get on the bus.
    From 'Travel Training" page at Valley Ride
Michelle Armstrong,
Head, Scholarly Communications and Data Management

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