What I’ve Learned From My Public Transportation Experiences

My experiences riding on public transportation have brought lots of annoyances, but has also shown me what not to do when commuting with the masses.

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Riding on public transportation in any large city can take lots of patience. The annoyances are plentiful, from delays to blazing hot subway cars, commuters eating disgusting food with the scent wafting, and much more.

One thing you can control, though? Your public transportation etiquette. And if everyone did this and learned from my experiences (and the experiences of many other commuters), the ride would be much easier for all.

Let people off before you get on
This is common sense, but I see this rule violated every single morning. Whether you’re trying to force your way on as people are getting off or simply standing in their way, you’re in violation. When the train pulls in, stand to the side (but close to the doors) and allow everyone to get off. If you don’t get a seat, you’ll live.

And that brings us to…

If sitting down will result in discomfort for others, don’t sit down
Again, another bit of common sense that is rarely used. I go by a simple rule. If there is an open seat with no one next to it, I’ll take it. If there is a middle seat with the seats on either end taken, I’ll only sit down if doing so does not squash the people on either side. There’s no reason to make two other people uncomfortable while not even being comfortable yourself.

I’ve had people literally sit on my thigh in order to squeeze into the seat next to me. It’s horrifying. And it’s resulted in me telling these people that they don’t fit. Because they don’t. And what they’re doing is a major violation of public transportation etiquette.

Do not force yourself into a crowded car during rush hour
The desire to race to work (or home) is understandable, especially if you’re running late. However, trains come every few minutes during rush hour, and there’s no reason to spend an entire ride with your elbow in someone’s side. Or your arm literally in their face. Doing this means you’re an idiot, Don’t be an idiot. Wait for the next train.

Recently, I had someone force their way on to my PATH train, which resulted in me being pressed up against a metal bar while this imbecile was pressed up against the entire right side of my body, My response was to shove them repeatedly in order to get more space, which brings us to…

Resist the urge to start a fight
I nearly violated this upon the morning that someone forced their way on to the train. Even if you follow all the public transportation etiquette rules, you’ll often be surrounded by those who don’t. I’ve had people accuse me of intentionally falling into them when trains nearly fly off the tracks, sending everyone flying. Don’t be that person. I’ve also had people accuse me of not giving them enough room when they try to sit down. And accuse me of elbowing them when they basically sit *on* me. If you respond to these imbeciles, do it in a calm way.

Do not ‘manspread’ or ‘womanspread’
This doesn’t mean that you should sit with your legs totally closed, since that would be insanely uncomfortable. But you should also refrain from taking up more room than necessary by spreading your legs to the point where you infringe on the space of those around you (or those who may sit around you). As an added part of this, do not ever put your feet on seats next to you or use them to place your bag or other personal belongings.

Do not eat
This comes with a few caveats. If you have a medical condition that requires it, or if you’re eating something totally non-offensive smelling (a candy bar, etc.), go for it. However, in almost all other instances, refrain from eating on public transportation. The smell will make those around you want to throw up. And make them hate you. I’ve seen people eat everything from chinese food to sandwiches to McDonald’s on the subway. Do not be this person. It’s disgusting.

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