Commuter Etiquette 101

Before working downtown, I previously had the luxury of driving to work every day. I use the term ‘luxury’ loosely; the up side to driving was that I didn’t have to deal with commuters. The down side was sitting in traffic for an hour every morning/ night and constantly having to deal with bad drivers who had way too much road rage.  Commuting definitely has its advantages – not having to sit in traffic takes away a heck of a lot of stress. Not to mention that it’s probably cheaper to use the train, bus or metro. That said, taking the train has its own challenges (see previous rant on lack of parking). I’ve put together a list of what I think should be basic etiquette when it comes to commuting. This is based on my own experiences and observations – but if you’ve got more, I would love to hear them! I suppose someone would actually have to read this blog to do that but slow and steady wins the race.

Commuter Etiquette 101:

The platform: it’s pretty darn long people. I don’t understand why some of you feel compelled to stand so close to me that you’re actually touching me. If you see nothing wrong with this, you might want to look up the definition of personal space. You’re in my bubble… please get out!

Smokers: I know you smokers out there get a lot of crap for your habit. But can you please have your smoke before coming onto the platform?

The mad dash: I know where the doors are when the train stops, and I reckon most regular commuters do too. If you’re a regular commuter, then you should know that the train has more then one set of doors. You should also know that getting on the train isn’t a competition – you won’t win a prize if you get on first.  In addition, whether you take your time to get on the train or herd each other like cattle won’t make a difference: everyone’s getting on – the train isn’t leaving without you.

The arm-rest: There is an unwritten rule, that if you have the window seat, then you use the arm-rest by the window. If you have the aisle seat, you use the arm-rest that is located between yourself and your neighbor. It’s not rocket science. Window people: Your arm-rest is located by the window. Do not hog both. How many arm-rests do you need?

Loungers: Your seat is not a Lazy-Boy and you’re not in your living room. Space is limited people – so sit up and don’t spread your legs out in front of you – this is disrespectful to the person sitting across from you. Your muscles won’t atrophy on a 30-minute train ride. Note to leg-crossers: Hi! There is no room to cross your legs on the train!

Leaners: I don’t know anyone who enjoys having a complete stranger practically sitting in their lap. Furthermore, people don’t like to have strangers brushing up against them either. Unless you’re the size of a giant orangutan, there is no reason for you to be touching me. And please don’t use me as a cushion.

The Daily News: While I appreciate your interest in sharing the paper with me, can you just learn how to fold it over so that I’m not stuck with one half of it on my face? And in case you’re a leaner as well, take note that if I wanted to read the paper, I would buy my own.

I love music too: What I don’t love are people who listen to theirs at full volume. In case you haven’t noticed the looks that people are giving you – they’re looking at you that way because they’re irritated. They’re irritated at you. In addition, I personally have my own music I’d like to listen to, and I don’t need your music drowning mine out. If you’re deaf, get a hearing aid.

Standers: I’m sorry you have to stand, but that doesn’t meant you can use my head as a book rest, or flail your arms in my face while talking to people. Or step on my feet. If you’re stepping on my feet, it’s a sign that you’re too damn close! I also don’t need your ass (or your crotch) in my face.

Loud talkers: Please see point 4 and lower your voice, or please shut up.

Smell the flowers: I know this might come as a shock to some people, but deodorant is not a new invention. You can buy it almost anywhere now – the pharmacy, the grocery store, the corner store – you can even find it at the dollar store. Please be kind to your fellow commuters and invest in a stick.

Now, if this could be mass-distributed to the commuters of the world, we might get somewhere.

Peace out,



11 thoughts on “Commuter Etiquette 101

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  5. Oh my god. I haven’t taken a train or subway in forever but the bus experience is quite similar. It’s been years since I commuted that way but even so, I remember it well. I have been in all of those situations but the comment on personal space gets me. I think people tend to cross that line in many different situations. Standing in line at the grocery store is a big problem for me. I don’t know why people think its okay to breath down my neck. Come one people, get your own damn space and leave mine alone.

    • People don’t understand the concept of personal space anymore. Just yesterday I was at the gym finishing my stretches and this guy just came right onto my mat to look at some crap that was on the wall. Uh hello? I’m working out here asshole!

  6. Oh, the list of annoyances I could add to this, lol!

    My personal pet peeve about the metro is teenaged boys.
    1. Their ‘boys’ don’t need to be aired out, so they need to CLOSE THEIR LEGS and not take up 3 seats.
    2. The iPod doesn’t need to be turned up to 11.
    3. Axe body spray is NOT a substitute for a bath.
    4. Spitting at the bus stop.
    5. Feet up on the seats.
    6. Backpacks do not need to stay on your back the entire time. Especially when the bus/metro is full.

    I agree with you about all your points. Having been a commuter for all of my adult life I think I’ve seen it all, although my experience is mostly with busses and the metro.
    Speaking of which – keep to the right on the escalator if you’re not going to walk.

    Now that I travel with a stroller sometimes I think I notice the annoyances even more.

    And yes…I read you all the time.

  7. I deal with all those situations, no I don’t take the train but the bus can be just as bad.

    I have been hit in the head a few time by random school bags from kids who are standing… I don’t hear a “sorry” either. And giving them a look doesn’t seem to phase them
    Although I do see a few nice things, like people will get up for an elderly person and for a woman who has a child:)

    I do read your blog everyday, and yes I do enjoy it 🙂

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