One of the most common activities and still causing trouble; do we get off, out of, take off, or exit buses, trains, planes, and cars? The answer is: It depends on the vehicle. First of all, the verb “exit” can be used with any conceivable vehicle or building, but it sounds very formal. Consider the following two situations:
(a formal announcement used in the Prague metro)
“Exit” was appropriate here, as the whole expression was supposed to be understood as a formal command. On the other hand, it is too formal for a normal conversation:
(too formal for a normal conversation)
In normal speech, the preferred expression for a bus, train, plane, and other public transport vehicles would be to “get off”. Although you can say that you “take a bus” when you “get on the bus” (not “in”), you can’t say that you “take off the bus” when you “get off”:
The difference between “get off” and “get out of” is a little bit more delicate. We get off public transport, but we get out of a (personal) car, and never the other way round:
For the sake of completeness, we should mention that “get out of the bus” could be used in case of emergency as a command. A driver noticing the bus is on fire could shout, “Everybody get out of the bus!” Nevertheless, this is hopefully not something you will ever need to say.