Bus Etiquette

9 Jan

Every day I ride the bus to and from work. I would not call myself a bus veteran, but I have been riding it long enough to know that there is an etiquette that should be followed by all patrons. The problem is that this etiquette has never been defined.  In an effort to make the bus riding process more enjoyable for everyone, I will attempt to distill this etiquette into a list of clear rules and regulations.

If you are paying with cash, go to the back of the line: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been standing behind someone on a rainy day waiting for them to cram a moist dollar bill into the machine.  It’s not going to work!  Even if it isn’t raining, to pay with cash takes longer than to pay with a Charlie Card. For the benefit of everyone, if you are paying with cash, voluntarily move to the back of the line. When everyone else has paid, you can get on the bus, the bus driver can close the door, and you can fumble with the machine while on the way to the next stop. EFFICIENCY!

Once your on the bus, find a place to sit:  Eventually the bus will fill up, and I know strangers are dirty and they smell and you don’t want to sit next to them, but you have too. Otherwise, I will be forced to stand so close to someone else, that if not for a thin layer of cloth, I would technically be engaging in intercourse.  Please, sit down and free up some space.

If you must stand, move to the back of the bus:  If all the seats are taken the worst thing you can do is stand in the front of the bus by the door. It is frustrating to board a bus only to be confronted by an impenetrable clump of people just past the door while vast amounts of free space lay towards the back, tantalizingly close. Usually when I encounter this type of situation I timidly say: “excuse me, excuse me” as I try and make my way towards the back. What I really want to say is: “ Get the fuck out of the way! MOVE! Why are you blocking the aisle? Do you not see that a shit ton of people just got on the bus?” Remove yourself from the spot you staked out and move to the back!

Don’t stand in front of the back door:  I know why you like to stand in front of the back door. It seems like its out of the way and you can lean against the wall leaving your hands free to read a book. The thing is, when I want to get off the bus you’re in my way. If there is another spot available, please move.

Bus driver. If the bus is full, do not stop and pick up more people:  If the bus is full, why would you try and fit more people in?  There is no more room and you’re just wasting everybody’s time. In fact, the bus is probably so full because you were behind schedule in the first place, allowing even more people to accumulate at the bus stops. This means that there is probably a completely empty bus directly behind you. Let that bus stop and pick some people up.

Clear seats for the elderly, injured, mothers and babies: Of all the rules, this is obvious and is actually made clear on the bus with signs and audio announcements. It is often ignored however, and since it is so important I felt I should include it on my list.

This is my attempt at defining bus etiquette. It is not perfect; especially considering it is based solely on my opinion and personal experiences. If you have any ideas of how to improve this list, or want to suggest additional rules, please share. A better bus riding experience benefits us all.

One Response to “Bus Etiquette”

  1. bobdoesthings January 10, 2012 at 1:08 am #

    I like your rules of etiquette and I fully concur that everybody else in the world should have the civility and respect to follow them.

    I, on the other hand, am above everyone else and I go by my own rules.

    First off .. I always pile up all my shit I’m carrying into a big cumbersome pile on the seat right next to me.. this way people feel less inclined to take the seat next to me and they’re more likely not to bother me with all of my cumbersome cargo. And if they are so heinous (granted when there are other available seats within eye sight) I will go about moving my things in a very slow and befuddled manner “I don’t get it, you’d think the overhead space could fit a backpack… now hold on a minute while I fiddle with this for a bit more…” (You get the idea..)

    *{Side Note: I’m still in debate whether this strategy is more effective by sitting on the window seat or aisle seat. On the one hand, people like to keep to themselves and if I’m sitting aisle they are less likely to speak up and have me move over, on the other hand I’m typically high and/or hungover when on the buss and all I want to do is listen to music with sunglasses on and stare out the window and not have to deal with anyone so I always sit window.. Hmmm..}*

    Another handy trick I like to pull is to start sneezing/coughing viciously without covering my mouth as people approach my seat while I fiddle with soggy tissues. This is a classic maneuver of mine and I think it’s really saved me many travels sitting next to others.

    You also brought up a good point, Where do you sit?! My advice is to (#1) figure out which side of the bus is going to be in the sun the most.. Typically I’m heading to the city when I take the bus so I know the drivers side gets hit with a ton of sunlight – unwelcomed! I hate the sun and squinting my eyes so this is a crucial foresight to consider. Also, (#2) I typically head about 3/4 to 4/5ths down the bus so that I am further from the front. Most people who have to share their seats are in the first half of the bus, so a good call is to always head towards the back.

    There are a few rules of etiquette I would like to add.

    Mainly – Don’t fucking eat anything on the bus that smells!! A granola bar or apple or chips is one thing, that’s fine. BUT DON’T BRING food that reeks! Indian food, the Italian sub with onions and garlic, the Chinese food, the ANYTHING that will fill the proximity with smells of food, no matter how good or bad! Even if it smells great.. you, as a passenger, have NO CLUE what sort of physical and mental state those around you are in. Violently hungover, desperately hungry, pounding migraines, stomach aches.. It’s so unfair for anyone to bring such foods on the bus with them. Be mindful of strangers, dickhead.

    Another one.. If you’re going to talk with your neighbor.. be polite and whisper. This happens all the time and for the most part people are easy to tune out, but every once and a while you get the teenage fuckhead “omg like totally and like ya’ know that if like Sarah had like totally said something maybe like…omg you’re soooooo right…totally” or someone equally worse. Ugh.

    Last and final bus tip.. Bring plastic bags. You never know what the weather is gonna be like. Or just in general – be prepared. The world is fancy; very fancy.

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