Public transport in the UK is equal parts technological marvel, absolute necessity and utter nuisance. Many of us rely on public transport to live and work – and with the rising costs of fuel pricing many out of owning their own car, public transport is set to become all the more important.
Rail and bus travel is of particular importance to younger people, with 63% of 16–24-year-olds in London commuting by public transport. The ‘nuisance’ part comes, in part, with the behaviour and etiquette of other passengers; the term ‘hell is other people’ has never been quite as apt as on a particularly challenging peak time journey home. But can we distil rail travel etiquette to some simple ‘dos’ and ‘don’t’s? Here, we will certainly try.
DO Offer Your Seat to the Needy
Kindness is a commodity, and its worth can much easier be measured at peak train times, whatever the train line. According to a recent survey by Grand Central, a fifth of commuters suggested that being offered a seat on a busy train would be the good turn most likely to cause a smile. Offering your seat to someone who needs it more than you is, in many ways, the ultimate kindness on a gruelling, busy train. Needy passengers include pregnant people, the elderly and the disabled.
DO Wear Headphones
Keeping the noise you make to a minimum is always a good thing on public transport, and trains are no different. Wearing headphones when taking phone calls, listening to music or scrolling social media is a great habit to form, and will be welcomed by your fellow passengers.
DO Be Patient
Patience is absolutely a virtue when it comes to public transport, and you should afford the same patience to other commuters as they afford to you. When waiting to embark a train, you should allow those onboard to leave before you attempt to board.
DON’T Make Excessive Noise
Volume and boisterousness can make for an incredibly uncomfortable train journey, so it is important to be mindful of the other passengers before engaging in loud activities. If you’re taking a phone call, moderate your speaking volume so as not to disturb other passengers. Likewise, if with friends – don’t let your volume creep up, as you could disturb or even scare other commuters.
DON’T Eat Offensive Foodstuffs
Noise isn’t the only way you can offend fellow passengers. Particularly pungent foodstuffs can also make a journey intolerable. You should keep food and drink to a minimum on your journey, or at least elect to eat inoffensive snacks like biscuits. Water is a great inoffensive choice for drinking, over the strong smells of coffee or syrupy drinks.