Public Transit Etiquette

Updated: Feb 21, 2016 14:53
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Broke-asses are no strangers to public transportation. (Like in many ever day public scenarios,) I always find myself surprised at the behavior of some passengers. So after much thought, I’ve compiled together this list of proper Public Trans Etiquette. These all seem pretty obvious, but it’s always surprising at how inconsiderate some commuters can be. There’s some pretty good (and funny) resources out there for this kind of thing. Try the Urban Etiquette Handbook as posted by Adam Sternbergh for New York Magazine or‘s Ten Subway Commandments cartoon.

Please read and understand, practice, and pass on the message. Together, we can (hopefully) make public transportation a bit more tolerable.

This will hopefully be an ongoing list, so feel free to comment with any more suggestions or personal experiences.

1. (Buses,especially) Greet your driver! They’ve also had a long day and there’s nothing like a bright, cheery “hello” from a stranger to make you crack a smile. They work hard and deserve acknoledgment of their service and presence.

2. Let passengers off the train/bus before entering. I’ve noticed San Francisco’s BART commuters are often respectable enough to form a line during rush hour times. But they always seem to bombard through the doors of the train, making it difficult for passengers to get off. You’ll have your turn; please wait.

3. Please allow the front seats to old folks, moms-to-be, and the handicapped. Sometimes this rule can apply to small children, as well. If there are no seats, please give up your seat. It’s simply the decent and respectable thing to do.

4. When boarding a bus, have your money ready. Otherwise, you’re just holding everyone up. This includes the passengers waiting in line behind you, the driver, the passengers already on board, not to mention you could vary well delay the transportation time, so those at the next bus stop are also waiting. It’s not a big deal– just be prepared, please. (Or just get a Clipper Card!)

5. Keep your music at a reasonable volume level. We are all exhausted from the long day at work and aren’t really in the mood to hear the crap that you like.

6. In-door voices! I never understood why people feel like they need to be the loudest on the bus/train. It’s unnecessary. For all the reasons listed in #5, please shut the F up!

7. Legs should be kept no wider than shoulder-length apart.

8. Keep all bags/luggage as close to you as possible, preferably on your lap. Do not use other seats for your excess baggage whenever possible, specifically during rush hour traffic.

9. Personal space: RESPECT IT, it’s as simple as that.

10. Please keep bicycles in their designated area, otherwise it often gets too crowded and makes it more difficult for movement throughout the train.

11. Hold the door– whether it’s for the bus, train, or elevator…just help a homie out…please?

12. This one’s important: If you have B.O., please please PLEASE do NOT reach your arm up to hold onto the overhead handles. That’s just rude.

13. No spraying anything of any kind. This goes for hair spray, cologne, perfume, body spray, etc.

14. Watch and control your children. This, really, is a rule that should be applied to any situation. If you really care about your child, please make sure they are not running through the aisles, bothering other passengers, climbing on the seats, running out the doors, etc. If not, maybe you shouldn’t be a parent.

15. Cellphones: I’m not sure if this is necessarily a DON’T rule, but I always find it amusing to see so many passengers persist to try and use their cellphone while on the subway underground. Most often than not, there is no reception. Can’t the conversation wait?



Photo courtesy of Illustrator Kim Rosen via Westchester Magazine

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Paulette Greenhouse - The Penny Pincher

Paulette Greenhouse - The Penny Pincher

Paulette Greenhouse is a journalist and graphic designer, obsessed with her beloved pet hedgehog, Lisa Pickles. Seriously, she can talk about that prickly little princess for days! Paulette enjoys fashion, music, and art (cool points are gained if DIY). Although she tells outsiders that she lives in San Francisco, Paulette actually lives in nearby Pacifica because she can't afford to be that cool. The truth is she hates money and believes that it is source of many major problems in the world. But since society has made money so damn important for adequate survival, she slaves away at a lame local corporate restaurant, receiving crappy tips from people even cheaper than she is. (damn!) But above all, Paulette believes in giving exact change– it's a way of life!