Public Transportation Etiquette 101: How to Be a Better Rider

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Etiquette is not just for the British. In fact, etiquette is a part of everyday life whether you realize it or not. People are always picking up on and putting out subtle cues to help others navigate society, conversations, work, and so much more. Every person, activity, organization, etc. has a code of conduct or etiquette. Public transportation is no different. There are faux paus people make on a daily basis, but they do not need to anymore. Public transportation etiquette is not about looking good, it is about being a better rider for everyone surrounding you. Quarters are tight in public transportation, so it is important to be as conscientious and thoughtful as possible to make the situation as easy and painless as possible. These pertain to everything from trains to buses to elevators.

When the doors open, wait. Do not rush into the newly accessible space. More than likely there are people inside trying to get out. By letting them exit, you are being efficient and making space for you to enter.

Know where you are going. It is important to know where you are going, so you get there. If you don’t know the route you’re taking and where you are going, how will you know when to get off? Take a moment before starting your trip to know where you need to be.

Step aside. There are times when you are neither getting on or off but remaining. Do not be the person who blocks the door or aisle. Step to one side so others can go around you and get to where they are going.

Keep your purse, backpack, or personal item as close to you as possible. On your person or on the floor between your legs is the perfect place. It does not need to take up its own seat; those are for people. Not only is this considerate, it is also safe. Keeping things close to you also cuts down on the chance you’ll be robbed or pickpocketed.

Offer your seat to the elderly, disabled, pregnant or those with small children. This is the kind thing to do if you are an able bodied person. Think of it as the kind and healthy option. You’re doing a good deed and burning extra calories. Win-win.

Cover your mouth. Considerate and healthy. Keep your germs to yourself by covering your mouth when you sneeze, cough, or yawn. It’s just polite.

Volume can be a major issue. If you’re having a conversation with someone or on the phone, try to keep it as quiet and brief as possible. Music is a great way to pass the time, but please put in headphones to listen. Not everyone will love the same 90s punk rock band you do.

Do not put your feet up on another seat, this seems obvious but many travelers still decided to put their stinky and dirty feet up on other peoples seats!

And finally, do not open up your smelly lunch to eat on the train! In fact, be courteous of doing anything that omits a strong odor such as painting your nails, eating that egg salad sandwich, or even passing gas.

What other public transportation etiquette tips would you recommend?