Passengers on London Underground train

Do you often travel by bus or train in the UK? Do you always feel safe on public transport? In this activity you will read some advice about how you can stay safe when you are travelling by bus, train or taxi.

Staying safe on public transport

Travelling by public transport in the UK is usually very safe, especially because there are now CCTV cameras on most buses, trains and in bus and train stations. However, there are some simple things you can do to avoid problems.

Travelling by bus and train

Plan your journey in advance. Make sure you know where to catch your bus or train and where to get off. If you think you will come home late at night check that you know the times of the last buses or trains.

Have your ticket ready. When you enter the station or get on the bus have your ticket, pass or money ready in your hand and keep your purse or wallet out of sight. Make sure your bag is properly closed and that no-one can see your valuables, for example, your mobile phone. Avoid travelling alone. If you are travelling at night, or in an area you don’t know, try to get someone to meet you at the bus stop or station. If you can’t do this, try to walk near other people and try to walk confidently – try not to look lost or unsure. Stay near others. If you are worried about your safety on the bus, sit close to the driver. If you are on a train move to a carriage where there are other people. Don’t sit in an empty carriage. Report suspect packages. If you see any unattended luggage or bags report them to a member of staff or a police officer.

Travelling by taxi or minicab

Always use a licensed taxi or minicab. There are two kinds of taxis in the UK. Licensed taxis have a white license plate on the back. In London and some other areas they are always black, so they are called ‘black cabs’. You can stop them in the street or you can book them in advance. A minicab looks like an ordinary car and now all minicabs should have a licence from the local council. Minicabs are not allowed to pick up passengers in the street without a booking.

Book your minicab in advance. You can book by phone, by email, or in the minicab office. If a minicab driver stops next to you in the street and offers to take you home, never accept the offer. The driver is probably not licensed and it is illegal to do this. Get in the right cab. When your minicab arrives, make sure the driver can confirm your name and your destination. Check this before you get into the vehicle. It is also a good idea to ask the driver to show you his ID.

Sit in the back. Especially if you are a woman it is a good idea to sit in the back of the cab. Then you are at a safe distance from the driver if there are any problems. If you need to get out quickly you will also have two doors to get out of instead of one


Task 1 - preparation

Task 2 - what might happen?

Task 3 - vocabulary