Your Guide to MTA Bus Safety
Keeping Passengers & Employees Safe is the Highest Priority at MTA
There is no more important mission at MTA than looking out for our passengers’ and employees’ well being. As a public organization, we are also responsible to the citizens of Maryland for protecting the property and revenues of the MTA. Through our proactive safety program, managed by the Office of Safety, Quality Assurance and Risk Management, we strive to excel at both missions, every minute of every day of the year.
We can’t do it alone, though. No matter how you interact with the MTA, we invite you to consider how you play the most important part in keeping yourself safe. Please take a look at the safety tips below.
Local Bus Safety Tips
We will get you there. Safely. But you play the most important part in taking care of yourself and your loved ones. Here are some tips to stay safe while on and off the bus.
- Wait at the bus stop. Drivers are instructed to pick up passengers only at designated MTA stops.
- Stand at a safe distance from the curb. If the bus approaching is the one you want, let the operator know by waving your hand. Be sure to stay clear of the bus until it has stopped completely.
- Do not run for the bus. Allow enough time to get to the bus stop before the scheduled time. Once the bus has pulled away from the stop, MTA operators are not allowed to stop for passengers. If you miss the bus, please wait for the next one.
- Watch your step getting on or off the bus. Place your feet solidly on each step. Never skip or jump over the steps. When exiting by the rear door, hold on to the handle until you have stepped completely off the bus.
- Do not play on the bus. Disorderly conduct can lead to injuries or you being asked to leave the bus.
- Hold on when standing. Use the handrails and bars to steady yourself while standing or walking on a moving bus. Never stand or sit in any of the bus stairwells or lean against the doors.
- Do not stand in front of the yellow line. The area between the driver and the front door must always be kept clear.
- Keep every part of your body inside the bus. Extending your head, hands or arms outside of the bus windows is extremely dangerous.
Keep aisles clear. Most MTA buses have a small amount of space beneath each seat to store book bags and other small articles. If you can’t place it under the seat, hold it on your lap. Keep your legs out of the aisle, too. Aisles need to be kept clear for other passengers to walk.
- Follow the operator’s instructions. If you miss your stop or there is an emergency, tell the operator and follow their instructions. MTA operators can get help quickly from the police, fire department or rescue personnel, if needed.
- Wait before crossing the street. Wait until the bus has left the bus stop before you cross the street. Look both ways before crossing the street and always cross in the crosswalk.
- Remember – safety is your responsibility too. We will do everything we can to keep you safe. Please be sure to do the same for yourself.
Light Rail Safety Tips
“Light” Rail is its name, but safety on Light Rail should never be taken lightly. No matter where you encounter Light Rail tracks or trains, stop, look and listen, please. Carefully!
- Do not trespass on Light Rail tracks.
- Cross only at designated crossings. Look both ways for oncoming trains before walking.
- Never walk or drive across the tracks when you see a moving train or a red traffic signal.
- In the stations, stand behind the yellow strip while waiting for the train, and when the train is approaching the station.
- Walk – do not run – on the platform. If you miss a train, wait for the next one.
- When standing, always hold onto the railing while the train is operating. Please don’t lean on the train doors, or leave personal belongings on the seat or in the aisles.
- Do not sit, stand or walk on couplers of the train.
- Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. In an emergency, remain calm and follow instructions from the operator or MTA Police. Listen to announcements and know the locations of emergency releases, exits and fire extinguishers.
- Report any suspicious behavior, unsafe conditions or unattended packages to the operator or MTA Police. Use the intercom to speak to the operator.
- If you lose an item in the track way, do not attempt to retrieve it. “Train time is any time,” so notify an MTA employee or MTA Police.
- Please do not smoke, eat or drink on trains or while at a Light Rail stop. It’s against the law and helps to keep Light Rail stops clean.
- Always stop, look and listen. Obey all warning devices, including flashing lights, signals and crossing gates.
Metro Subway Safety Tips
Metro Subway will get you where you’re going – fast. Even if you’re concerned about missing the train, there’s always another not far behind. So take your time at all times around Metro Subway trains, tracks and platforms.
- Always stand behind the yellow safety line while waiting for the train, especially when the train is approaching the station. Allow the train to come to a complete stop and the doors to open before approaching.
- Once aboard the train, move to the center of the car. Remember to allow people to get off before you board.
- Walk – do not run – on the platform. If you miss a train, wait for the next one. Never hold or block train doors from closing. Tampering with train doors can result in a disruption in service.
- When standing, always hold onto the railing while the train is operating. Do not lean on train doors, and please do not leave your personal belongings in the aisles or on the seats.
- Never cross between train cars.
- Stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. In an emergency, remain calm and follow instructions from the operator or station manager. Listen to announcements and know locations of emergency releases, exits and fire extinguishers.
- Report any suspicious behavior, unsafe conditions or unattended packages to the operator or station manager. Use the red phone located on each station level or use one of the intercoms to speak to an operator while on the train.
- If you lose an item in the track way, do not attempt to retrieve it. “Train time is any time.” Notify the Station Manager or MTA employee.
- Please do not smoke, eat or drink on trains or while in a Metro Subway station. It’s against the law and it helps to keep the Metro Subway stations clean.
- When riding station elevators, watch clothing, bags and personal items since they can get caught in closing doors. Never use strollers to open closing doors.
- Escalator steps are always moving, so keep clothing and shoes away from the sides and make sure laces on footwear are tied and not loose. Please do not use strollers or wheelchairs on escalators. Use the “Stop” button in case of an emergency.
- Always stop, look and listen. Remember, “train time is any time.”
MARC Train Safety Tips
In recent years, commuter train safety and security awareness has taken on greater importance due to an increase in disruptive incidents worldwide. Local transportation agencies and law enforcement partners rely on people just like you to alert them to unsafe or uncertain conditions, no matter where they occur. Thank you for staying alert, both for your own safety and for the safety of your fellow passengers.
- Walk, do not run. Many passenger injuries occur while trying to rush to catch a train. It’s especially important to take it slow in rain or snow.
- In the stations, stand behind the yellow strip while waiting for the train. This is especially important when the train is approaching the station.
- Never stand on or near the tracks. Trains are several feet wider than the tracks and can still hit you even if you are not on the tracks.
- Keep away from all overhead or third rail wires that power trains. These high voltage carriers will cause serious injury or death.
- Educate your children about the rules and dangers associated with commuter train travel.
- Always hold your child’s hand while waiting for the train.
- Report all unusual packages, activities and/or suspicious persons on a train, the tracks or at a station. Please do not leave bags unattended. If a neighbor appears to be leaving something behind, let them know.
- Never race a train to a crossing. You will lose.
- Trespassing on or around tracks is against the law. You may be subject to criminal prosecution for being and remaining on or near the track without authorization.
- Only cross tracks at designated pedestrian crossings. Never cross directly in front of or behind a moving train, or under or through a stopped freight or passenger train.
- On high level platforms, take care when crossing the gap between the car body and the platform.
- On low level platforms, use the handrails for support when using the steps.
- Never board or jump from a moving train.
- Take care when walking to your seat. Bags, purses and laptop cases can injure others sitting in seats while you are passing.
- Do not ride in the vestibules. Conductors are instructed not to move the train is passengers are standing in the areas between the cars.
- On bi-level cars, do not stand or sit on the stairs separating levels of the cars. This is important even when queuing up prior to your arrival at a station.
- Remain calm in the event of an emergency. The crew has been trained to handle emergencies. Please follow their instructions carefully.
- In Washington Union Station, remain inside the station until your train has been posted.
Elevator and Escalator Safety
Please read the safety tips on our Elevator and Escalator Safety page. If you are traveling with children, be sure to go to the children's safety link- you and your child with be safer for it.
- Clothing: Children should wear bright colored clothing, especially if waiting for the bus before sunrise or getting home after dark. Place removable reflective tape on their outer garments including on their hats and coats.
- Boarding: Teach your children to only move forward to board a bus when it has come to a complete stop and the driver opens the door. Children should line up as they await entrance.
- Seating: Neither MTA Buses nor school buses come equipped with seatbelts. Teach your children to be seated at all times and face forward. Teach them about optional exit strategies including using the emergency door or windows.
- Exiting: When exiting the bus, children should move far away from the vehicle to allow the driver to see that they have cleared the bus and are safely away from traffic. Children should stand clear of all bus wheels.
- Awareness: Teach your children to be aware of other traffic in the area. Do not assume that drivers will stop for them or even see them. Have them constantly look both ways as they cross the street until they are safely on the other side. Every year children die or are injured in school bus related accidents. Many die as a result of a collision involving their bus with another vehicle while others are killed or hurt as they fail to clear the area around the bus or are struck by oncoming traffic.
We want you to be comfortable
Passenger comfort is important to the MTA. We ask that everyone who rides an MTA vehicle practice courtesy and civility for the well-being of all.
- Shoes and shirts are required of all passengers.
- Eating and drinking is prohibited on MTA vehicles and platforms.
- Please use a head-set when using a sound-producing device, including cell phones.
- Behavior that is considered to be dangerous, disruptive, obscene, threatening, violent, inciting or insulting to other passengers (including inappropriate language and gestures) is not allowed.
- Never delay, stop or prevent the operation of a transit vehicle.
Protecting the environment matters every day at MTA
Protection of the environment is one of the MTA’s most important responsibilities as we provide vital transportation services to the people of Maryland. It is our policy to conduct our mission in a manner that protects the environment, prevents pollution, and supports conservation of our natural and cultural resources. Through this policy, the MTA commits to:
- Comprehensive environmental protection and continual environmental process improvement
- Early introduction of environmental protection and pollution prevention in the planning states of new programs, transit facilities and in all work conducted on MTA properties
- Compliance with applicable federal, State and local environmental regulations and policies, supported by regularly scheduled internal assessments
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of MTA’s environmental management program through application and review of the Environmental Management System (EMS) to ensure that established objectives and targets are met
- Promotion of a spirit of collaboration, cooperation and responsiveness both internally and with federal, State and local regulators
- Establishment, implementation, and maintenance of MTA’s environmental policy to support effective communications to all employees and interested parties
- Proactive, sound environmental stewardship
Please visit the following websites for more information about the full scope of MTA’s environmental responsibilities.
Maryland Department of the Environment
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency