And other public transit tips
By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor
Excuse me while I rant a bit.
I don’t usually devote column inches to griping about the behaviour of my fellow students, but it seems each semester our time away from the daily grind causes us to completely forget to ride public transit like a respectful human being—if we ever learned to begin with. So far, throwing shade at backpack-wearers and aisle-blockers hasn’t been a winning strategy in my crusade for transit etiquette, so I’m turning to a good old op-ed on manners. Because somebody has to.
First off, take your damn backpack off. I know you may be thinking, how much space can my one little backpack take up? Answer: a lot, when everyone does it. Not to mention, the people who actually do get a seat on a crowded morning bus definitely don’t want your filthy, germy book-holster thrusting itself into their freshly awoken faces. It’s not a good look.
Next, move to the back of the bus—or at least listen to the bus driver when he or she asks you to. The bus driver is not just playing some sick, pointless game when they repeatedly ask passengers to move on back. You know that awful feeling when a bus zips by you with a “Sorry, bus full” message? It’s even more awful when you can see seats and space enough for at least eight people in the back. I know you love your music in the morning, but when you’re riding transit, please keep one ear open so you can hear the bus driver when they ask you to move to the back. Unless you can be trusted to figure it out for yourself.
Be alert when riding transit. Pay attention to who is around you—make sure you vacate a courtesy seat (those are the seats at the front of the bus or near the doors on the SkyTrain) if you see someone who needs it. If you see someone struggling to get by you to move to the back, it might mean you need to move back also. Listen to the bus driver and pay attention to the social cues of those around you. This way, we all get where we need to go and hold onto that last remaining shred of sanity.
Above all, participating in public life means recognizing that you are not the only person on the bus. This includes simple things such as watching the amount of perfume or cologne you wear, not eating smelly or messy food, keeping your music volume at a level only you can hear, and being aware of people around you. I know mornings are rough, and I also know that riding public transit on the daily might be a new thing for you—so keep these tips in mind and avoid being someone’s pet peeve of the day.