Here’s another interesting thing you can add to the list of unique job assignments that mystery shoppers come across — mystery rider. Being a mystery rider is when your assignment requires you to ride some form of public transit and record your findings. Think about all of the complaints you may have heard about public transit that customers make but don’t follow through with on their own. Delays, dissatisfactory customer service and even pass-ups. Hiring mystery riders is a way for public transportation providers to get an in-depth look at how their company operates.

What you’ll do

As a mystery rider, your job will mostly be to observe. Not much will be required on your part as far as interaction with actual employees. You’ll just be watching for the condition of the bus or train, the comfort level of the passengers and, most importantly, the time in which they arrive and depart.

When you arrive at the bus stop or train station, you’ll make a mark of when it is scheduled to arrive and make another mark to see how close it got to the previously listed time. Once you get onto the bus or train, you’ll begin the bulk of your observations. Depending on the system that the public transit provider uses, you’ll take a note of how many times you have to attempt to put in your fare. Once is great, twice is all right, but anything above that is something that most wouldn’t consider up to par. You’ll check to see if the bus or train is at an appropriate temperature and level of cleanliness for the passengers to feel comfortable. Making sure that the seats and equipment are up to a reasonable standard will be something else to take note of. You’ll also run down a checklist of signs and posters that are supposed to be on display to make sure that everything is as it should be. Upon your arrival to your destination, you’ll have to keep track of the time you got there. Another thing to keep an eye on is the driving of the bus driver or train engineer.

Who will you encounter?

The good thing about working as a mystery rider is that you won’t really have to put much work into a cover because you won’t be interacting with any employees directly, unless you choose to do so. If you do happen to have any direct interactions with employees, be sure to take detailed notes to look back on later. But, for the most part, you’ll just be another observant passenger.