A commuter’s guide to manners

I truly believe that the commute demonstrates all that is wrong in the Western world today. The short-tempers, the sense of self-entitlement, the ill-mannered push and shove – commuters are completely without the basics of polite society. So, I thought I’d put together a nice simple little guide for commuters everywhere on correct railway-related behaviour.

On the platform:

  • If you travel by the same train every day you probably have a vague idea of where the train stops and the doors open. If you arrive on the platform to find someone standing on the yellow line exactly where your favoured door will stop, DO NOT stand DIRECTLY in front of them. They too probably know where the doors stop, and they were there first.
  • In the above situation, neither is it acceptable to stand within inches of said passenger in an attempt to ensure that you have an equal chance of boarding first. If the platform is relatively empty and said passenger is close enough to share in your body warmth you’re standing too close. In fact, if the platform is relatively empty and you’re standing within arms reach, you’re standing too close.  As an old Scouse housemate of mine used to say, get out of their bubble!
  • When the train pulls in we understand that you would like to be first to board – we all would. But before you can get on there are likely to be people wanting to get off – please give them the chance to do so, thus giving us all the chance to get a recently vacated seat.
  • With regards to letting people get off the train, feel free to exercise patience and restraint. If, for example, someone is struggling with a suitcase or bike, don’t lose your temper, emit a great sigh of frustration and barge past them. If you really can’t bear to stand about waiting, help them.

On the train:

  • The aisle-end luggage racks are for luggage, yes, but not just yours. Try to place your suitcase in as compact a corner as possible to allow for maximum storage space.
  • Yes, there are luggage racks above the seats for a reason – namely to save you having to place your bag on the seat beside you. Kindly utilise these. If you have chosen not to utilise these and I ask you to move your luggage in order that I may sit down, don’t glare and mutter obsceneties. Unless you have actually paid for two seats. In which case, I’ll let you off.
  • If you’re sitting in someone’s reserved seat, I’m afraid you will have to give it up. Please do so with grace and dignity. If someone is sitting in your seat and blatantly about to drop a sprog or unable to stand for long periods, I suggest that you consult your own conscience on whether or not to move them…
  • If the carriage is kinda quiet and there are unreserved double seaters available further up, don’t just plonk yourself down beside someone out of laziness. Remember that chat we had about personal space…?
  • If you are forced – horror of horrors- to sit next to someone on a train, please consider their feelings and respect their personal space. The early morning train is many a commuter’s extended lie-in, and no dozing traveller appreciates your elbow in their side as you struggle to remove your jacket. Neither will they appreciate the windows chime at full volume as you load up your laptop, or the extensive rustle of your hand reaching repeatedly into your morning bag of Wotsits. (And seriously, if you’re eating crisps or savoury snacks of any description for breakfast we must recommend an immediate review of your dietary habits.)
  • Speakers in the quiet zone are forbidden. So are mobile phones. Playing your music out loud through your mobile phone is a lynching offence in any carriage. You have been warned.

When leaving the train:

  • I’m not psychic and, after several years living with my step dad, pretty much immune to the evil eye. The phrase you’re looking for is “Excuse me, please”.
  • Bashing all and sundry with your laptop bag as you navigate the aisle towards the vestibule is not a good way to make friends. Remember, you’re probably sharing the commute with these people again tomorrow, and if you hit me in the face, I’m-a gonna remember you.
  • Repeatedly prodding the button to open the train door will not make it open any quicker. See how it’s not lit up yet? That means your constant battering will be having no effect other than to drive the rest of us insane and highlight your own impatience. And possibly damage your finger.

And finally, my personal mantra when judging dealing with commuters:

I’ve no time for impatient people – as they clearly have no time for anyone else.


6 thoughts on “A commuter’s guide to manners

  1. Love it. I should do one of these for other drivers on the road. I think impatience & lack of respect for other people is the common denominator.

  2. I have to say, while traffic gives me the pip, at least I’m in my car, with only me in it. Trains on the other hand? I love them when they’re quiet, they drive me to near suicidal distraction when they’re busy!

  3. HA! this is fantastic, I have to deal with this every day! The worst is when you’re sat next to someone who wants to get past and they just glare at you expecting you to know they want to get through! I just refuse to move until I’ve been politely asked!!

    Although I don’t think I agree with giving up reserved seats to pregnant ladies! Old and infirm people yes, but just coz someone chooses to get sprogged up doesn’t mean I’m giving up my seat!

    This should be posted on the back of train, tram and tube seats nationwide!

  4. Love it – so true! How about this one –

    If your seatmate is putting off clear “leave me alone” signals – earphones, nose in a book, eyes closed – THEN FOR CHRISTSAKES LEAVE THEM ALONE!!! When I’m knitting and listening to music, the last thing I want is some yokel coming up to me all “durr de durr de durr” and wanting to talk about the freaking sock I’m making. GAH!

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