As an NES, but not a teacher:
See the following link, which suggests that "rides the bus" is American English vs "takes the bus" which would be more usual for British English.
Definition of ride from Oxforddictionaries.com
"chiefly North American travel in (a vehicle or lift):she rides the bus across 42nd Street"
As a "Brit" I would prefer to ride a horse or a bicycle, but drive a car or take the bus/train
Hope this helps
Apologies: The system won't allow me to paste the link (yet)