While using public transportation transit can be a great way to save money while traveling, it also has several disadvantages that travelers should be aware of. These include possible threats to personal safety, irregularities in scheduling, and the fact that, in some communities, mass transit has limited coverage and is available during limited hours. Travelers who plan to rely on public transportation should take the time to familiarize themselves with the systems available in places where they visit in order to avoid difficulties and danger. Pre-trip investigation is particularly important for those who have disabilities, as some public transportation systems are less accommodating than others.
A primary consideration of travelers should be whether they can actually get to the places that they wish to visit via public transportation. In some communities, routes can be very limited, which can be a major disadvantage for travelers who do not have an alternative means of getting around. If a traveler does visit a place where the main attractions or accommodation options are not near public transportation routes, he or she may need to inquire about private transportation services, such as taxicabs. Another consideration is that public transportation services do not always operate during evening, holidays, or weekend hours. Again, if a traveler is staying in a relatively remote area, this can cause significant difficulties unless the traveler can secure private transportation.
For many travelers, the most significant disadvantage of public transportation is the possibility of being attacked or robbed. In situations where travelers are unfamiliar with the customs or language of a particular place, they may be particularly vulnerable to being targeted by criminals. Tourists may wish to speak to local guides or hotel employees about the safety of different public transportation options.
While less serious than deficits in coverage or the problem of crime, the unreliability of some systems remains one of the more significant disadvantages of public transportation. Various types of public transit are subject to malfunctioning equipment as well as service disruptions caused by emergencies and even labor strikes. These disruptions can create problems for tourists who have carefully planned their day's activities, only to find that they are significantly delayed because of track construction or a broken down vehicle. In some cases, travelers can avoid routes that are having problems by checking the status of various train lines and bus routes at stations or online.