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Travel etiquette

25 September 2008 by Amy Hansford

During my daily commuting, once I?m done with reading the adverts, the free papers, and making up interesting stories on where the bizarrely dressed person sitting opposite is headed to that day, I get to pondering. You know pondering, those odd thoughts that everyone thinks about in probably more depth than they should, but that aren?t important enough to raise in normal conversation. And this ponderation is something I?ve been mulling over for a couple of weeks now.


Bus etiquette. Train etiquette, whatever you’re on, so long as it?s public transport.

We?ve all been there ? you get on the tube and the only spare seat is next to, well, someone. Anyone. But it?s there and you take it. And so the aisles fill up with other commuters and you all go off on your way.

You get to Commuter Central and the bus/train/etc empties out, leaving a rather empty carriage. A guy listening to his music a bit too loud, a few people reading the newspaper, a woman who?s fallen asleep against the window, and you. Sitting next to Mr or Mrs Anonymous. Potentially trapping them against the window, unable to escape freely to the aisle.


What do you do?

Do you move, allowing both you and the other person more freedom? But how will that make Mr or Mrs Anonymous feel? Your movement may trigger all sorts of feelings and thoughts from them. ?Why did they do that? Do I smell? Is there something wrong with me? I feel so unloved – even someone I don’t know can’t stand me.? The simple action of moving away could possibly make them feel so rubbish they may end up getting off that train and, I don’t know… kick a puppy or something.

So, do you stay? It keeps the norm, doesn?t it? But then again, what about Mr or Mrs Anonymous? Will they feel trapped? Will they think you fancy them? Will they start to wonder if indeed you?ll ever release them from their seat?


So that?s my ponderation for the day. What?s the etiquette? Next time I?m in this position, what should I do? Advise me so that I may know better!

1 Comment »

  1. John C. Kirk says:

    I normally move in that situation, but I do sometimes feel guilty about it (for the reasons you mention).

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