I know what I think the etiquette on public transport should be. That is:
- Sit on the seat nearest the window if it’s vacant.
- Put your bag on your lap or underneath the seat.
- If the bus or tram is full move down the back so people getting on the front have somewhere to stand.
- Don’t talk too loudly on your mobile phone.
But of course humans being what they are don’t follow these simple rules. They:
- Sit on the seat near the aisle leaving the window one vacant.
- Put their bag on the vacant seat next to them.
- They stand up the front so it’s hard to get past them if the transport is full.
- Speak too loudly on their mobile phones.
Oh, and I thought that high school students were supposed to stand for adults? No, it’s clearly not so any more.
I’m not afraid to ask someone to move their bag so I can sit down and so far everyone has obliged. I don’t know what I will do if someone tells me no one day. On the bus I catch there is space at the front of the bus for wheelchairs on both sides of the bus. The three seats fold up and face into the centre of the bus. This morning a young woman was taking up two of these seats and her shopping trolley was taking up the other seat. A man sitting opposite her was sprawled over the three seats leaving it impossible for anyone to sit near him without asking him.
As for people speaking to loudly on their mobile phones, it doesn’t bother me so much as it provides inane welcome distraction from work or whatever’s happening at home. I think people are under the illusion that a cone of silence surrounds them when on their phones because some people say some very private things. For example one young man was talking about his medication one bus trip and I think his medication was methadone.
I’m pretty lucky as my trip to and from work is not very long once I’m actually on the bus so if I’m perched on the edge of a seat, or if I have to stand, it’s not for very long. I also don’t have to worry about negotiating peoples’ poor driving and paying lots of money for parking.
How about you. Do you catch public transport often?