Life Lesson: Public Transit Etiquette 101

Public transit. Do those two words make your skin crawl? If it’s because you think transit is for poor people – you’re a dick. If it’s because you know that people who ride transit can unexpectedly ruin your day, then I fully agree.

Cities around the world should really put together some public education campaigns to combat transit jerks. If they need any tips on ways to prevent transit rage, here are my favorites:

Let people off before getting on
Let’s start with the beginning of your trip. I know you probably have somewhere to be like, twenty minutes ago, but it is not going to make your trip any faster if you push your way on while people are trying to get off. If you push me back on the train and the door closes and I can’t get off – don’t be surprised if you get a stiletto in your foot between here and the next stop.

Have your payment ready
We all know that when you get on the bus you need to pay or have a pass. Unless you have just run to the bus, there is no reason why you shouldn’t have your payment ready before you get on. “Oh, I need to pay to be on here? Let me see if I have change.” – This kind of behavior will really set your fellow riders off before you even leave the curb.

Only take one seat
Once you get on you may want to sit down. That’s great. That’s what the seats are there for! You know what they’re not there for? You to sit in the middle of the bench taking up two to three seats while other people have to stand. Dick move. Also, if the train is full, don’t put your bags, jackets or other items you may have on the seat next to you. You would think this is common sense, but…it’s not. Some people do it because they are ignorant to the fact that their Kate Spade is making Jill have to stand and others are just jerks who don’t want people to sit beside them. If you are the latter – take a friggin cab.

Know when to give up your seat
If you are under 35 there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to give up your seat to those who need it. If you don’t know who those people are here are a few examples: Old people. If you’re thinking, “I wonder what nice things you have been doing during retirement?” then they probably deserve your seat. Pregnant ladies. They know they are entitled to the good parking spots at the mall and a seat on transit. Do not keep it from them…or the hormones will get you. Injured people. If you see someone wearing an air cast, give them your seat – don’t spend all of your time thinking about how we are never able to sign casts anymore because plaster seems to be a thing of the past.

Move away from the doors
Unless you are getting off at the very next stop, move away from the doors or to the back of the bus to make room for the people getting on.

Stop the cell phone chatter
You know what I really don’t care about? Anything you could possibly be talking to someone on the phone about while sitting near me on the train. Unless it is an emergency phone call, wait five minutes until you are not locked in a tin can with 30 other people who are listening to nothing else but the annoying sound of your voice.

Turn down the music
If everyone around you is getting free garbage DJ concert because your headphones are so loud, there will be judgment. No one appreciates that. And don’t even get me started on listening to things through speakers. This is not 1990, we do not live in the hood and you are not carrying around a boom box.

Acknowledging other people’s personal space
Unless we are in China and there are 80,000 people pushing you into me (my version of hell on earth) there is no reason why you should be touching me. If we are sitting on a bench together you should be treating this like a trip to see Santa. My lap is not your home for the next ten minutes – get off.

No bikes during rush hour
In many cities, you are not allowed to take a bike on the train during rush hour. This is a good rule. They should also add no strollers to this rule. Nothing against child care givers, but rush hour is two hours of the day. Plan your life to not need to take your three year old through a city center during this time.

Tame your children
Speaking of children, if you do decide to bring them on public transit – have a conversation before you get on letting them know that if they mess around on the bus, the devil will come into their room in the middle of the night and eat their soul. Kids love that kind of emotional terrorism. Added bonus, when a child rides transit properly (ie. quietly and in their seat) it is safer for them and everyone else. Safety first peeps.

Don’t eat that here
How long are you actually going to be on this bus for that actually justifies needing to eat that MacDonald’s cheeseburger right now? Keep the bag closed and eat your dinner when you get to your destination. Also, do you know how dirty this bus is? Do you really want to be eating something in this tin box that has all of these people’s germs floating around it? Gross.

This is not just a transit tip. Everyone in every aspect of your life will appreciate if you do this on a regular basis.

These rules are pretty simple. Let’s make our commutes a little less ragey and a little more boring, shall we?



Jes spends approximately 25% of her income on brunch, really likes to laugh and is certain if Regina George punched her in the face she would not think it was awesome.

'Life Lesson: Public Transit Etiquette 101' has 1 comment

  1. March 19, 2019 @ 9:10 pm Bridget Corns

    I agree with you ! People should take a bath . People should not carry more than what can be put on there lap ! Don’t demand another person chair on the bus .
    Some times riding a bus can be very challenging no respect for other .

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright 2015