A Quick Refresher on Basic Transit Etiquette

Tuesday March 7, 2017

This morning’s commute was a bit of a passive-aggressive turned aggressive-aggressive public transit horror show. So. I thought it’d be a good time to revisit some basic rules of riding the bus or train. Of course, not that any of you probably do any of these because I get the feeling you’re all self-aware, kind people with large reserves of empathy and compassion for your fellow woman/man.

Alright. Let’s get started.


1. Take off your backpacks on a crowded bus/train.

You can stuff it between your legs while you stand, or turn it around so it’s front facing. This is not up for debate.


2. Don’t rest against a pole on a crowded bus/train

Short people need to hold on to something, and they’d rather do so without feeling up your sweaty back.



I’m not sure why this continues to be an issue in our progressive city, but I see it all the time. It’s even a rule!

If you didn’t get up because your face was buried in your phone or book…look, if you’re sitting in the upfront seats, you’ve taken on the responsibility of eying anyone getting on the bus or train. You know who those seats are meant for.


4. Let people get off the bus or train before you board

This one is also a toughy for a lot of people. Just stand back, people.


5. If the bus or train is crowded, don’t hog a seat with your purse, backpack, or shopping bag

This is just plain rude. (If y’all don’t think I seek these people out and ask them to move their stuff, you haven’t met me.)


6. Take all those lessons you’ve learned over the years about being a nice, decent person, and practice them even on transit

I don’t know what it is about a bus or train that makes people throw out all their manners and feelings of empathy. Living in a society means that you don’t make life harder on your fellow people just for funsies. Like, don’t elbow the woman struggling down the steps with a stroller. (And maybe, I don’t know, offer to help?) You don’t HAVE to stand up and let a pregnant lady sit, but it’s a nice gesture. You don’t HAVE to help someone struggling with a cart full of groceries or luggage, but it’s the decent thing to do. If anyone looks like they’re struggling with something, it’s ok to offer help! They’ll have a better day and you’ll get a good samaritan award for the day.


Basically, just be kind, people! It’s not that hard! We’re all trying to get somewhere; we’re all a little stressed. Let’s not make life harder for our fellow public transit riders.

Would you add any rules to the list? What would they be?

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