Bus/Train Etiquette in NYC for the Fellow Broke-Ass Travelers

Just a little word of advice for the fellow broke-ass bus and train riders: There ARE actually a list of do’s and don’ts that may be useful to some or useful to others when it comes to riding the bus or train. These rules are also specific to NYC travelers.

So here it goes:sleeping on stranger

Rule #1- Do not assume that just because a person smiled at you when you came on board that it was an invitation to sit next to him/her. Fact is your eyes  probably accidentally met and out of cordiality (which is the norm), a slight smile was cracked.

Rule #2- Do not assume that just because you’re sitting next to that person who cracked a smile, you can automatically strike up a conversation. New Yorkers love their space and are not always too kind to strangers. Half the time, we public transportation riders would just like to get to our destination with our music in our ears or just watch that little show on our iPads, maybe even nap a little, with as little interruption as possible.

Rule #3- Please do not eat on the bus or train, especially not on the bus since it is a tighter space and the smell of your fish or egg sandwich is even more up close and personal. Not only that but, it kind of looks a bit unsanitary since practically 99% of germs are exchanged in public spaces; and now you’re eating in them. I mean, just don’t do it, it’s really not right.

Rule #4- If you and another person are holding on to the same pole because there are no more seats available, please keep your hand at a reasonable distance, away from him/her. Nothing is more gross and annoying than having a stranger’s sweaty and secretly nose-picked palms touch mine, even if it’s just the knuckles. I just have no idea where they have been. So unless you resemble Mayra Leal (if you’re a girl) or Morris Chestnut (if you’re a guy), then please don’t do it, it’s just not right.

Rule #5- This one goes for the musicians and the aspiring rappers or the ones who just enjoy listening passionately to their favorite song/artist. No one cares about the song as much as you do, and no one cares about your aspiring dreams, so if you develop this dire need to sing or rap out loud in passion, please try your best to resist. There’s nothing worst than coming from work all beat and just looking for some peace and quiet and some shut-eye only to be disturbed by a fellow wannabe entertainer passenger. Just don’t do it; no one cares.

Rule #6- The biggest one of all: I know life gets tiring and unbearable after a hard eight-hour day of work and all you want to do is set up a therapeutic bed in the middle of wherever. But please and I repeat, please! Try to hold off for at least another hour or two and wait until you arrive home. Do not fall asleep next to a fellow passenger and be so delirious that you are leaning on his/her shoulder. No one wants your sweaty hair and possibly dandruff-infested follicles on them. So unless you can hold your head up and sleep in your own private space until you reach your stop, don’t take a chance and doze off. The bold candidate will elbow you one day. Maybe you’ll learn a lesson.

Rule #7- If it’s crowded on the bus or train, please don’t try to squeeze your way inside when there is clearly no room left! You don’t fit! And don’t you dare shout and demand for others to move back so you can force yourself in. Quietly step out and wait patiently for the next ride. It won’t be that detrimental, trust me.

Rule #8- Unless you’re legally blind or have some kind of strange sensitivity to the lighting on the train, or are being watched eerily by the creeper sitting across from you, please steer away from wearing sunglasses on the subway. There is absolutely no sunlight on the subway train. Therefore there should be no reason for sunglasses. Sunglasses: Keyword being SUN. Get with it folks. Don’t do it, it’s just annoying.

Rule #9- So it’s a crowded bus right? And there is no room anywhere, and you see that. Please do not make the ride even more uncomfortable for your fellow passengers and bump into everyone because you’re obnoxiously trying to make your way to the back for whatever reason. You’re still going to remain standing. Same position, different part of the bus. You did not improve your life. So do us all a favor and stand where you are! If it’s meant to be, you’ll find a seat somehow.

Rule #10- Okay so I’m sure everyone who’s traveled by bus has encountered this one: The person who does not mind sharing their whole life with the entire bus. Though it might be refreshing sometimes to listen in and learn that your life is not the only one in shambles, it can get a bit irritating and not so interesting after the third phone conversation for those who are not lucky enough to block it out with headphones. So hello there person who cannot wait to get home to spill the tea; Just take it down a notch! Gossip Girl #2 will hear you just fine.

So here you go folks. A small number of public transportation etiquette to follow until you take care of all those debts and can finally purchase that dream automobile (which is hopefully not a Hummer). There are probably much more, but those are the most encountered ones. Learn them; apply them to your daily life; and don’t you ever say that no one ever taught you the simple rules of riding cheap in NYC.

Photo Credit: fukuoka-now.com

Share This Page

About the author

Joanne Rae - Coinless Wanderer

She loves: Ginger Ale, Blue Moon, pita chips w/ yogurt, pecan pie, Pralines N' Cream ice cream, Rum Raisin ice cream, salted cashews, PB&J sandwiches, avocados, garlic, and tuna. She loves: Scary movies, really really funny movies, House & Trance music, Meryl Streep, Ben Stiller, sunny days, 85 degree weather, redheads, Netflix, steamy showers, foreign countries, and cute tiny doggies. She hates: Onions, asparagus, cucumbers, seltzer water, licorice, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip anything, chocolate ice cream, and walnuts. She hates: Insects, rain, Kerry Washington, Hummers, talking on the phone for hours, Long Island, buses, winter, waking up early, cats, when babies screech really loudly, when people talk really loudly, and puke. Et Voila lala...

2 Comments

  1. amanda says:

    Rule #11: Dudes, please don’t feel the need to air out your junk on the subway – just take a look around you and if two people are squished into the bench next to you, maybe you should shut your legs and not take up more space than necessary.

  2. Dottie says:

    Also, if you are sitting in seats reserved for the elderly/injured/disabled/pregnant, give them your seat if you don’t fit into one of those categories. Look up from your iPhone at stops to see if someone that should probably sit needs a seat.

Leave a Comment