Skip to main content

Tips and Tricks for Durham Region Transit

March 10, 2022

TLDR: Download MonTransit from the app store, check out this website for real-time departures and be mindful of others.

As part of our student IDs, we have access to the Durham Region Transit (DRT) however some people haven’t needed to take public transportation before coming to university. From someone who has taken DRT for more than a decade, here are some tips and tricks to make you a pro on the bus!

Have your bus pass ready when the bus arrives

No one wants to be waiting behind someone still getting their presto out or loading the app. To get the line moving, have your pass ready to go as soon as you see the bus approaching. If you don’t, get out of the way before you are run over.

Once on the bus, seating is key 

If you are staying on for one or two stops, sit close to the front of the bus. For those in for the long haul, move as close you can to the back. When you and another are the only ones on the bus, pick a seat that is away from them. It is very awkward when there is a free bus and someone sits right next to you, be mindful. Additionally, the front seats are reserved for those with disabilities or the elderly. Unless there is no seat available, avoid these seats. If you have to sit here, be ready to get up at a moment's notice to make room for those who need it.

Always be holding the bus

When sitting, disregard this tip but if you are standing make sure you are holding the bus and are ready for a sudden stop. When your stop is coming and you have pushed the button, you don’t have to move to the back door. If you are unable to stand when the bus makes a sudden stop, do not stand. It is much worse to have a passenger fall than to wait a few extra seconds for them to move to the back door. For those with the ability to, move towards the back door while holding one of the bars.

Always exit through the back door (very few exceptions)

Bus drivers hate when passengers exit through the front door. You are interrupting the flow of traffic and are causing a traffic jam! The only exceptions to this rule are: something is in the way of the back door (such as snow), you are with a child or have mobility issues, and you have a bike and need to get it from the front. This list isn’t exhaustive but use your best judgment while trying to leave from the front.

Keep your listening ears on and eyes on the road

For my music lovers, make sure the volume is low enough that you are able to hear the bus driver if there is an announcement. Sometimes emergencies happen which means that they may have to detour from the original route therefore you need to hear if this happens. Most buses are equipped with audio alerts for each stop along so if you are unable to see the stop screen, make sure you can hear these notifications so you don’t miss your stop!

Know where you are going

Prior to getting on the bus, you want to know the name of the stop you need to get off at and then the stop before it. By knowing the route, you are able to ensure you do not miss your stop. For me, I review the route prior to getting on a new bus to make sure if I do miss my stop where can I get off instead. Not all buses loop around in the same way, therefore you cannot just stay on the bus to get back to your stop; for example, buses that go to the Oshawa Centre turn into other buses after they arrive. Pro-tip, download MonTransit through the app store which includes bus schedules. stop numbers and route.

Buses are allowed to be 5 minutes early or late.

Simply being on time doesn’t mean you will check the bus! Buses such as 900 Pulse, 901 Simcoe, or the 915 Taunton are regularly off schedule so how do you plan for this? Firstly, try to be at your stop 5 minutes prior to the scheduled time. Secondly, find your stop number (located on the bus sign at your stop) and enter it into the real-time website.

Have a backup plan

Sometimes buses don’t show up on time or there is an accident that causes the route to shut down. It is important to have a basic understanding of how these routes work and how different buses can get you to the same destination. For example, if you are at the Oshawa Centre, downtown Oshawa, Harmony Terminal, or Ontario Tech North Campus there are several buses that come through these hubs that can take you in a similar direction to then be able to catch a connecting bus. 

Working on the bus is fine but be mindful

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen someone reading a book and then suddenly realize they missed their stop. For those taking a short trip, don’t bother trying to get work done. Put on some headphones and keep your eyes on the road. For those going to the end of a route, feel free to even get your laptop out and get work done; just be mindful of what is happening around you and the space you are occupying.

Stay calm

Buses can be a stressful experience especially if you are trying to take the 901 Simcoe after class at North Campus. Be mindful of the space you take and how others are around you. If you are stressed, this means others are probably feeling the same. Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. You got this!