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Public Transport Etiquette

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by Michelle Forsyth (subscribe)
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Published June 10th 2013
The do's and don'ts of public transport
I wasn't sure if I'm just petty when it comes to public transport etiquette, so I decided to take a survey and see what annoys people about commuters on public transport. Here is the top eight.

8. People who are constantly on the phone.
I'm not sure if this is because people are on the phone, or because most people on the phone seem to be overly loud. It does annoy me when people just call their friends, one after another, for no reason at all. If you're bored on the train, bring a book; don't call everyone that you have in your phone book.

7. People who stare at you.
Are you ever just sitting on the train, and the guy across from you won't stop staring at you? It happens to people quite regularly. Why do they have to stare at you? Maybe they're just people watching, or maybe they're from the Frankston line and are observing how civilised people act.

6. Loud passengers.
Sometimes you can't help but stare at people, though, especially when they are having conversations that are 10 times louder than they need to be. Is it really necessary for you to have a conversation with your friend who is on the other side of the carriage?

5. People who play music loudly.
If you want to listen to music, then bring headphones, and if you have headphones on and I can still hear your music, then have some respect. Please do not play your music so loudly that I have to hear it. This isn't the 80's and you're not carrying a boombox, so please bring some headphones with you. If I can hear your music through your headphones, then please turn it down. Your loud music probably doesn't appeal to everyone else's music tastes. It's also distracting people who are burying their heads in a book or are trying to study. Please, just stop it. It doesn't make you cool.

4. Passengers who are standing but don't make room for others.

So maybe there have been train delays and the train before yours was cancelled. This means that there will be double the passengers. Don't just stand in front of the doors; move right down the aisles. There are obviously more people on the train, and just because you're already on the train doesn't mean someone else doesn't need to get on it. Make more room to allow for more passengers.

3. Passengers who make seats inaccessible during busy periods.
This is probably on the top of my list. If it's busy, then don't put your bag on the chair. If there isn't anyone on the train, then go for it; but don't take up more room than you need. Why don't people sit directly next to or across from other people? Sit across from the person who is already sitting there, don't leave a space and then wait for someone else to walk past you and sit in a seat that you could already be sitting in. It is hard for the other person to get past the other three people already sitting there. Just scoot across and make it easy for others.

2. Passengers who invade your personal space.
Sometimes this is difficult, especially during peak hour. However, if you get on a train and there is only one other person on it, don't sit next to them. People like their personal space on public transport. Sit at the other end of the carriage. Don't just sit next to them or across from them. It's weird and I am yet to meet anyone who appreciates it.

1. Passengers who don't vacate seats for others who need them.

This is easily the most annoying thing that people do on public transport. It is so often that I see elderly citizens ask for young people to vacate their seats. Do the right thing; get up and offer your seat to someone who needs it more, especially if they're pregnant, old or disabled. Let parents' with prams have your seats, too. They probably need more room than you. Even if some of these people decline your offer, it's always nice to know that people are thinking of you, and it is especially comforting to know that people still have good values.

Commuters need to be more caring and helpful. Don't be 'that guy'. Have good public transport etiquette. Keep to yourself, but also be as helpful as possible to people who may need a hand, even if it's just carrying something or giving them your seat.
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Why? So public transport can be pleasant for everyone
Cost: Just your manners.
Your Comment
I live in Adelaide...the problem is just as bad here too! I have a couple more gripes that could be added to the list.

1. people who instist on keeping their backpacks on, especially on buses. Do they not realise that their backpack takes up just as much room as a person or they are hitting people with the backpack - I have taken up telling people to remove their backpacks when they are hitting me

2. Young people who pay cheaper fares not offering their seat to someone who pays full price then proceed to take up the whole seat or put their feet on the seats
by amethyst01 (score: 0|6) 2352 days ago
Yep, people playing their music definitely annoys me. I can't understand why some people's earphones are so loud. They must be deaf! And the ones without earphones are just plain rude! Also agree with stephs comment about personal grooming. Nail varnish and deoderant are overwhelming!
by Katy Holliday (score: 3|1133) 2342 days ago
Thank you for writing this. As a regular user of public transport (buses mainly) 3 and 1 annoy me the most. I particularly can't stand manspreading (when men sit with their legs wide apart, taking up more than one seat, just because, when other passengers are standing).

I'm probably guilting of 7. myself, but if I seem to be staring at you, I'm probably actually daydreaming and staring into space.
by Jennifer Muirhead (score: 3|1105) 770 days ago
Love this list. Pity it can't be put up in every train, bus and tram!
by maia (score: 1|13) 2353 days ago
and your MYKI (not really). The other gripe I also find is that people that don't validate their ticket before they board the train particularly in suburbs
by newintstudents (score: 2|474) 2353 days ago
Have you ever travelled on the Frankston line? I, with many friends, travel to Melbourne every month to attend Morning Melodies (which is great by the way) and very rarely see anything amiss. Consequently I am very disappointed with your comment. Trish
by Patri (score: 0|2) 2353 days ago
Great list, I have another to add. Personal grooming on the train, like applying nail polish next to me. The smell was too much!
by steph (score: 0|3) 2349 days ago
Cool comments,M, and truly significant! I totally agree!
"Let parents' with prams" does not require an apostrophe.(Meant kindly.)
by julia (score: 1|34) 2342 days ago
On Escalators, stairs, footpaths and roads - STAY LEFT!!!
Those who rudely, insensitively, ignorantly BLOCK the right path of transit on Station Escalators and stairs should be SHOT without mercy. Likewise on footpaths and roads! This is Australia = STAY LEFT!!!
by fluffynut (score: 2|917) 2342 days ago
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