In the last three years, I have lived in San Francisco and Sydney and relied completely on the public transit systems of each city— specifically the buses. I know the 5 Fulton and 45 Masonic routes like the back of my hand and have memorised all the wedding dresses on Paramatta Road thanks to the 480 and 483. For the last three years, the bus systems have helped me learn my new cities, and yet I am still astonished when I come across fellow public transit-ers that don’t follow these five cardinal rules of bus riding. So, here you have it: a short lesson on bus etiquette.
If the bus starts to get crowded, move to the back.
The bus driver/ other passengers should not be the ones to have to tell you this; it should be common sense. If you notice the front of the bus getting increasingly congested and, oh look! The back of the bus is completely empty! Make everyone’s lives easier, and keep moving to the back.
2. Don’t put your bags on empty seats.
Really? You see that there are people standing and you keep your purse propped on the seat next to you? Really? Put your bag on your lap/ in between your legs and let someone have a seat.
3. Move in towards the window.
If you’re sitting in the aisle seat and the person next to you (the window seat) gets off the bus, it’s only polite to take the window seat when that person has left. That way, the next person who sits beside you (assuming the aisle seat isn’t now occupied by your bag) doesn’t have to climb over your legs for an empty seat. I understand some people may not enjoy the feeling of a warm seat that was not heated by their own tush, but we’re all in this together, people. Let’s make our fellow passengers’ lives a little easier.
4. If there’s an empty seat, take it!
This one I really don’t understand. If the bus is crowded, there’s an empty seat near you, and there aren’t any seniors or injured people around you, take the seat! I imagine people think they’re being polite by opting to stand rather than sit, but leaving empty seats available on a crowded bus only makes the bus more crowded.
5. Thank the driver as you exit.
Or at least acknowledge him/her with a wave. These people work for hours on end with the livelihoods of hundreds, if not, thousands of people on their hands. They are the ones that get you to school, to work, back home, to the doctor, to your friend’s house, to your favourite café. Thanking them before you leave is the least you can do.