Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Move over - where do you sit on public transport?

Lately I've been thinking about where people sit when they're on public transport, including how people interact with each other.

Increasingly I notice people sit on the empty seat nearest the aisle, even where the other two seats further from the aisle are empty. I then notice many other people standing, even when there are seats available. Other people do ask to access a seat. Often the response from people already seated is to remain where they are, forcing others to step over them to reach a seat.

I find it bizarre. I regularly request people to move over so I can sit. Mostly people respond by moving over and leaving the vacant seat more accessible for all of us. Once when someone didn't move and required me to crawl over their lap, I asked them where they were getting off the train. This enabled me to establish they were getting off after me and it just made sense for them to move over. They moved begrudgingly.

If you don't want to sit next to other people, either don't catch public transport, or don't take a seat.

This afternoon I had a different problem. I was seated and had a couple of bags on the floor behind my legs. A man sat opposite me and splayed his legs out, kicking me and my bags. I asked him to give me a moment, so I could rearrange things and it was as if I had not spoken. How weird! There we are, knees virtually pressed together and he can't hear me? Can't see me? Maybe if he acknowledges my existence in that moment of pressed together confinement, it will become overwhelmingly intimate and confronting. Better to not believe I even exist.

The other thing that drives me mad is people pressing me from behind as I stand aside to let passengers off the train, before I try and board. It's as if they think the train will leave before the one hundred people on the platform board. The same thing happens when trying to disembark during peak hour - people push from behind to get you out of the way. Then they press you up the escalators and press you through the turnstiles to exit the station.

Everyone needs to get on and off the train. We all need to travel together, so why not be courteous and considerate of each other as human beings? It's not difficult and you may even be rewarded by a smile and a thank you!

Where's your preferred travel spot on public transport? What's your strategy for securing a seat?

1 comment:

  1. I travel by bus. I try to get one of the two single seats near the front, preferably the one near the door rather than the one with the wall behind the driver seat in my face.
    If I need to sit in a double seat I sit on the window side not the aisle side. That seems to be he norm for Brisbane buses.
    I get on near the beginning of the bus route going in both directions, so I usually have a seat and a choice.
    I used to travel by train. Trains seem to be more crowded and bring out worse behaviour in people than buses.