Whether you're one of the thousands who take to Melbourne's public transport for the weekday commute or you're merely passing through the city, this guide will get you to your destination safe and sound – no squashed luggage or angry travellers in sight.
1. Don't take the aisle seat See all those people standing up? See how there's an empty seat right beside you, blocked off by the fact that you took the aisle? No? Let me run through it again: get out of the way. Peak hour in Melbourne isn't a happy place for anyone. If your stop is soon, don't take a seat in the first place – someone else who has farther to go will appreciate it. If you're going to be on the train/tram for a while, move over! Give other people room to embrace a more sedentary mode of transportation.
2. Don't stand in the doorway
Okay, this is pretty similar to the first point, but it gets my blood boiling in the same way. If you're only going one stop, don't decide to get on first and stand right near the door; you're not doing anyone any favours as they now have to push past you to find a seat. Similarly, if you're going to be there for a while, you're just going to cop angry stares from the rest of the carriage as they force themselves past you on the way out. Get in, sit down, and:
3. Don't blast your music I'm looking at you, tough guy. No quantity or breadth of muscle can make up for the fact that I caught you listening to Shania Twain. And it's common knowledge that the louder your music is, the less likely you are to notice the fact that you're singing along. And yes, everyone is staring at you.
One of the great salvations of commuting is the folded bunch of print forced into your hands as you enter the station. Granted, your IQ won't be raised, but musing on the middle-class complaints and checking your generic horoscope will make the stations fly by faster. When you've finished reading, just re-fold your MX and place it neatly on the seat beside you – with an average of 3.5 readers per copy (the highest of MX cities) another two and a half Melbournians will soon come along and be thankful of your charity.
5. Don't fare evade At the risk of sounding like your Mum, this one's important. Fare evasion, i.e. using public transport without a valid ticket, was a lot easier in the good old days of paper metcards. With Myki it got a whole lot harder, and a whole lot less worth it. Melbourne's new ticketing system uses a prepaid plastic touch-card to enter and leave all forms of public transport, and they've upped the number of both uniformed and plain-clothes ticket inspectors on trains, trams, and buses. Don't count on the friendly warning of "inspectors!" whispered around the tram – being caught without a ticket sets you back $180 on the spot – and they no longer fall for "je ne parle pas anglais."
6. Don't lick the floor At some point during your time either as a visitor or a Melbournian, you will be on a tram, and you will be drunk. At some time during this journey, one of your "friends" will inevitably dare you to lick the floor. Just don't, okay? Trust me; there are just some things you don't want to know. On that note, don't sit on the floor either – people have been licking it.
Please do not let think in your post that only French people do fare evade ... I am French I live in Melbourne for a long time I never do that and most of my French buddies don't do that too. It's a bit insulting !!!
I'm very sorry that my comment insulted you - I'm afraid my communication must not have been clear enough.
I only intended to convey that some Australians have very occasionally attempted (often without success) to avoid being fined by pretending to be a tourist - I am certainly not saying that French people routinely fare evade. In saying that ticket inspectors no longer "fall for" 'je ne parle pas anglais' I imply that this scenario is a fare evader's trickery, and not actually involving a genuine French-speaking person.
My use of French was only to give an illustrative (not definitive) example as many English-speaking people can understand this sentence, and the joke would therefore not be lost on my audience. I may not have achieved this by using a more obscure language, therefore I chose French - Italian or Spanish may also have sufficed.
Once again I regret that my article caused undue offence, and urge you to make a closer re-reading of the article in order to be assured that this was not my intention - in fact it is a light-hearted poke at native English-speakers!
If you are still concerned about the content of this article please do not hesitate to contact me as I am eager to allay your worry.