Public Transport And The General Public



Monday-Friday, twice a day I catch public transport. I spend around 20 hours a week travelling to and from work.

I don’t mind the travel. It gives me time to do things. I currently play Animal Crossing on my Nintendo DS and then I’ll read a book. If I’m super tired, I’ll close my eyes for a bit and daydream.

I also like to people watch. I love to see what people are wearing, their shoes, their bags, and I have a sick fascination with watching women put makeup on. I LOVE IT.

But there are so many negative things about public transport and it has nothing to do with the service providers and everything to do with the people who USE these services.

Did you get the memo saying that common courtesy wasn’t required on public transport? No? Me neither! Apparently it’s every man for himself (or herself). Daily, I see people who are waiting to get on trains push themselves onto the train before those wanting to get off have done so. I see people almost knocking others over with their bags. I’ve seen arguments break out because they don’t want a particular person sitting next to them. I’ve watched as people have put their bags on seats and then pretended to be asleep so that no one will sit next to them.

Then there are those who feel that because they’ve been getting on the same train for forever, they are entitled to sit in the same place every time, and that if anyone else is sitting there, they have every right to have a go at them. A particular example comes to mind of when I was catching the train from Gosford. There was this one lady who used to get on at Gosford as well, and “save seats” for her 3 friends who got on at Woy Woy. She would have a bitch fit if anyone dared sit in that area before her friends got on. Sad thing was, this lady was notorious on this particular train, and was nicknamed “The Train Nazi”.

What about the “vestibule” area on trains? Those seats are recommended for disabled or elderly passengers. It’s where I like to sit. But you know what? If a disabled or elderly person gets on the train, I will offer them my seat. Because THAT’S WHAT THE SIGNS TELL YOU TO DO. I mean there is even a wheelchair emblem on the floor in that area. Once again, people pretend to be asleep so they don’t have to move.

What really really bugs me the most is when a train is terminating. I catch a train from Chatswood to Hornsby that then terminates. As the train shunts off to the yard, I watch as hundreds of copies of MX lay stranded on floors and chairs. I see people’s empty coffee cups and paper bags scrunched up and tucked into areas. What on earth is wrong with people?

While I understand that CityRail (or whatever they are called now) hire cleaners to go through carriages after they terminate, it frustrates me to no end that there is so much rubbish and that people think it’s okay to just leave their shit around for someone else to deal with. Is it because people are lazy? Is it because people think that they have a “better job” than these train cleaners and therefore have a sense of entitlement? Must be so lovely to have someone clean up after you. It makes the bins on the stations completely redundant as no one uses them!

I hate to say it, but I think that public transport brings out the worst in people. It’s almost like just because you’ve paid X amount for a ticket, it means you can behave like a complete douche canoe. We ALL pay for our tickets. We ALL have the same rights and responsibilities as customers.

Honestly though, what happened to common decency? What happened to respecting others? Are people’s lives so horrid that they think it’s okay to behave like spoiled brats on public transport?

What have your experiences been with public transport? Any horror stories or nice stories you care to share?

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  • John James

    I caught Sydney trains for over a decade – back in the 80s and early 90s – and Cuppy, your experience sounds exactly the same as mine… back then train passengers were ruthless and selfish… sounds like nothing has changed…

    When I moved to the lower-north shore and started catching buses and ferries, I actually found the change refreshing… although you get the occasional bad-apple on buses, I actually find most bus passengers really courteous and respectful… and ferry passengers are even nicer…

    Mind you, because of the hours I work (7am to 3pm) I do avoid the peak-hours, so I may miss the worst of public transport, but even back in the late 90s when I did use buses in peak hour, the experience was way less painful than trains… I mean, people queue for buses… so different from the chaotic free-for-all you get at busy train stations…

    As for why there is a difference between trains and buses? I’m not sure – maybe because train passengers are a lot more isolated from the driver and conductor… maybe it’s because train journeys can be much longer than bus journeys… or maybe my experiences of buses is different from other people on other routes.

  • Kris

    I’m a crazy politeness/follow the damn rules lady on the train and bus. It does my head in – it’s the inefficiency coupled with the lack of logic and consideration. I used to yell at the kids from the posh schools weekly at one stage for their behaviour. With KDot, I sit in that vestibule bit too. The kids used to run through the carriages to the back of the train so they could then get to the lift up from the platform. There is a perfectly normal exit they could use, but which I can’t because there are stairs. Wollongong station is right near the hospital, so there are always people going to hospital and other medical appointments, generally elderly and pregnant, and you know, on crutches or something, because HOSPITAL. It literally took a year of yelling at them, and complaining to the schools, to get them to stop doing it.
    A few weeks ago I had some kid tell *me* off for not asking him politely to move his bag off a seat. My response? “Why should anyone have to ask you at ALL??”
    I’m also the one on buses who tells everyone to move the hell down and sit if there are seats. You’re not being polite by standing if there’s no-one who needs the seat. You’re in the way.

  • Liz @ I Spy Plum Pie

    People pushing on to trains (or trams here in Melbourne) before others have the chance to get off is one of my pet peeves. Do they really think it will leave without them if they don’t get on straight away?

    I went to a high school that was along one of the busiest tram routes in Melbourne and so there would be hundreds of students trying to fit on the trams at peak hour, along with adults going to work. I lost track of the number of times adults would tell us that we should get off the tram and allow them to travel because it was more important for them to get to work on time, than for us to get to school. It used to drive me nuts as we would generally squeeze lots more kids on the tram (we didn’t mind being cramped!) than they would, so we were actually increasing their chances of getting on a tram!

  • Tamsin Howse

    I have been so tempted so many times to yell “GET OUT OF MY CHAIR” on public transport. Less so since I moved into the city for work. But previously I was on the train before anyone else and off it before anyone else, so I preferred to sit in the front seat down the stairs so I could get out of the train without anyone having to move or get up to let me past. There was some logic to my craziness (there isn’t always – like the fact that every time I enter a bathroom I’ve been in before I get a bit twitchy if I don’t get to use the same toilet I did last time… but that’s a whole other story)

    But apart from that, I completely agree with so much of this. My gripe is what happened to school kids being required to stand for paying passengers? I’m sure that was a rule. It was written on the back of my train pass! Yet I frequently see school kids sitting down while adults are standing. It really bugs me!

    • Kris

      Yeah it still is – I asked the kids from the posh school – they knew it was on their passes too, but apparently “Stand for an adult” doesn’t then extend to “Don’t push in front of adults to get to the lift that you don’t need to use”.

  • Hayley Ashman

    Yes! Yes! Freaking yes! I really don’t understand what happens to people when they are required to use a communal space. It fast becomes all ‘me me me.’ Public toilets (including ones in workplaces) are a great example of this. Do you leave poo on the seat at home? No? Then don’t fricken do it at work either!

    • iamevilcupcake

      People leave poo on the seats?? POO????

      • Hayley Ashman

        Yep. So gross. I don’t know why people have so much trouble sharing public spaces. Why do people leave mess in the work kitchen? Why do people clog public toilets? Why do people push to get on public transport? WHY?

        I’d also love to know who these secret offenders now. When you raise the topic with people everyone always says ‘oh yeah, people are so rude on public transport.’ Well someone is fibbing considering getting the amount of bad behaviour out there.

  • melinka

    Oh cuppy, I’ve been griping about about 2.5-3 hrs day but 4…!! Rudeness and selfishness drives me bonkers on the train. I’m lucky in that (for now anyway) I catch a country train to Central which has ‘quiet carriages” ho ho. They are completely brilliant when they work but it only takes one dozy twit with a phone ring seemingly designed for deaf toddlers to wreck it. Especially when they have a loud conversation and they look at you with complete blankness or anger if you nicely ask them to keep it down in the quiet carriage.

    Arghh!!! Yes, we’re all being quiet in a packed carriage so YOU CAN HEAR YOURSELF THAT MUCH BETTER!

    Oh dear. I seem to have commuter rage 😛
    Had better start leaving earlier for work when I move house … it’s hard getting up early but much more peaceful for travelling. Would love the flexibility to come in later and finish late (especially when I already have days where I finish between 8.30 – 10pm), but them’s the breaks :)