Vancity Buzz Guide to Simple Bus and Train Etiquette

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School is back, the buses and trains are packed, the winter weather is slowly creeping up on us and that can only lead to grumpy, wet and dreadful commutes to and from work, school or where ever your $110 2 zone bus pass will take you. Luckily Vancity Buzz has come up with a simple list with a few tips on how to make yours and everyone else’s trips a little more enjoyable.
The Bus is not Your Living Room!

As comfy as those blue, hard, cold seats may be you’re not in your apartment so sitting there with your legs up or spread out really makes it difficult for anyone else to get a seat. If it’s 11pm and you have the entire back of the bus to yourself go nuts and lie down, hell take a nap if you want. But when people are grasping on for dear life to those yellow bars and flailing all over the place from the drivers erratic starting and stopping maybe it’s time you take your foot down off the seat in front of you and keep your knees to yourself so we don’t have to play footsies with you!

Make Room!

Yes the bus can get crowded and yes some people have a real problem with hygiene but no that doesn’t mean you deserve to take up 3 seats for you, your backpack and your newspapers. As dire as it may be that you need to read about how many times Angelina Jolie has cheated on Brad Pitt in your “news” paper when the bus starts getting packed maybe pick up those Business and World News sections you never read so that person can also sit down, even if it means their hip might touch yours. So put your backpack on your lap or between your legs and let other people sit beside you so they can Tweet, Facebook and read Vancity Buzz on their phones!
Old People are People Too!
I don’t care how much you drank last night, how far you walked home on your walk of shame or how sore your feet are from wearing 9 inch heels. When someone three times your age gets on the bus, MOVE out of the seats at the front so they don’t need to waddle all the way to the back which sometimes can take up to 5 minutes or struggle standing at the front when at any moment their hip could give out for the 10th time this year.

No Need to Run!
I understand it sucks waiting for a train but when the Skytrain literally comes once every couple of minutes there is NO need to dash at full speed when you see one at the platform. Some people might be VERY tired on their way to work and may not see you and your psychotic eyes glazed over in a mad stampede because you can’t be at your destination 2 minutes later. Don’t be surprised if the next time you’re bolting for that train someone sticks their leg out and then not only will you be 2 minutes late you’ll also have a broken nose and wrist. Think about this, you could be in Edmonton where if you miss a train, the next one isn’t for 10 minutes…20 on weekends.
Reasonable Volume or STFU!
I know you think you’re cool for all the chicks numbers you got at the Roxy last night or how many beers you drank and how important the meeting is that you’re on the way to…news flash NO ONE ELSE CARES. Go ahead and talk on your phone or to your friends but the rest of the bus/train doesn’t need to hear about it, actually we really don’t care but when you’re talking at a ridiculous volume so we can’t even think about what to make for dinner later, then well hopefully that chick from the Roxy you met last night was actually a dude.

Escalators and how to use them!
This should be fairly obvious to most but when taking an escalator, regardless of going up or down its WALK LEFT, STAND RIGHT. Not “Stand where ever the hell you please so you hold up everyone behind you who doesn’t want to wait 5 minutes to get down to the trains”. I’m fine if you’re too lazy to walk down moving stairs which do all the work for you, but please please please stand on the RIGHT HAND SIDE. Some of us enjoy using our legs to walk.
Let People Get Off!
First, get your mind out of the gutter…done? Ok, so this is probably the most irritating and #1 problem with people who take transit, especially the Skytrain (though it happens on the bus too) when the doors open and people are shoving their way through to get on when not everyone has had the chance to get off. I’ll never understand why some people can’t grasp the concept of moving 2 steps to the side so people can easily walk out but rather insist on squeezing themselves through just so maybe they can get a seat or maybe somehow the door will close even though 5 people are in the doorway and they might not get on? It makes no sense and I personally have seen where it almost comes down to blows because someone couldn’t wait until everyone got off before getting on. Fair enough those “blows” would’ve been between two 5’2 78 year old Chinese women, but likely one of them knows Karate and things would’ve got a little out of control. To avoid possible future 3 Ninja’s style brawls we can all take a breath, take a step to the side and allow people to get off the train before we get on.
Most Important!
The last and most crucial advice I can give for all the fellow commuters out there is SMILE! We’re all in this together and maybe just maybe if we all smiled a bit more often we may just brighten up another’s day.

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Vancity Buzz Staff Your inside source for Vancouver happenings. Established 2008.

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  • Tawcan

    Great post I think every Vancouverite should read this at least once even if you don't take transit.

  • Anonymous

    Thank-you for this timely post. And when the monsoon season hits try thinking about the way you are swinging that umbrella around in a small space. Not only do I not want the extra water spraying over me, those pointy ends hurt!

  • Anonymous

    "…two 5’2 78 year old Chinese women, but likely one of them knows Karate…"

    Just a little racist.

  • Anonymous

    It's a joke. Don't be so PC

  • @brodyjones

    "Don’t be surprised if the next time you’re bolting for that train someone sticks their leg out and then not only will you be 2 minutes late you’ll also have a broken nose and wrist."

    HAHA. I've honestly wanted to do this so many times.

  • Anonymous

    I've shoulder checked and elbowed people who tried to get on the skytrain before people get off. Also blocked people who tried to squeeze on while others are waiting for people to get off first.

    I think there should be a mandatory bus etiquette class taught in elementary school. So it doesn't have to ve taught through force on public transit.

  • Alan C

    I would add that you should greet and say "thank you" to the bus drivers when boarding and leaving the bus. They do the same thing day after day, putting up with irate people all the time, so they really appreciate it when you let them know you appreciate them.

  • kriselle

    Don't forget to tell people not to LEAN on the poles like they own it so that others can hold on when the train is full!

  • Anonymous

    I just dealt with something like this two days ago. Girl gave me a nasty look when I politely asked her to move her backpack off the seat.
    I will also elbow/shoulder check people who cannot grasp the simple concept of moving out of the way to let people get off.
    We need some etiquette police out there!

  • Tanya

    Also, Men, if the bus is full and you see a woman standing, you should ALWAYS offer their seat to the woman, any age. Especially if the woman is in heels!

    I don't care if you find her attractive or not, others will see this and obvs think you are the man. Just sayin.
    If men actually did this more often, I would wear more heels on the way to work, and therefore, be better eye candy.

  • Michelle

    I would add personal hygiene to the list!

  • Anonymous

    Another annoying behaviour to avoid on buses and Skytrain: leaning with your back against one of the vertical handrails, so no one else can hang on without reaching way above your head or putting their hands down near your butt. Seriously, stand up straight and share the handrail.

  • Anonymous

    Chinese people don't do karate!

  • Brad

    Tanya – I've grown sick of offering and getting turne down followed by an awkward bus ride.

    My new thing is offering my seat to 20-30 year old males and when they say "that's ok man" I look at them surprised and say "No really it's ok, are you sure you don't want my seat?"

    Also, I run for the Bus/sky train all the time. Not only does it save me 3-5 minutes in the morning it also helps with a little thing I like to call fair evasion. -17 months and counting.

  • Anonymous

    how does running help fair evasion?

    Oh and what's wrong with saying Chinese people do Karate? It's a skill that's hard to aquire and takes a lot of discipline, it's a compliment if anything!

  • Anonymous

    i agree with all your points, and a few of the comments about people leaning on poles so no one else can hold onto it.

    Another one is people leaving their backpacks on their back leaving less room for people to stand, or get through. Put it on the floor. It's not pissing rain yet, and you probably already put that bag all over the floor at school, so it's not going to get any dirtier. Plus it's less weight on your shoulders.

  • Anonymous

    I think its key that students take their backpacks off and place them at their feet. I've been smashed in the face sitting down when someone with a gigantic and full backpack decided to abruptly turn. I always take my backpack off, its more comfortable and it allows more people to get on the bus!

  • Phanyxx

    The photo you used for this post is hilarious. I think that the women are supposed to look annoyed at the business guy on the cell phone, but they actually all look like they're checkin' him out…

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for posting this! I cannot stand the ignorance of everyone I transit with daily. Common sense really.

  • glassedpickles

    LOL i agree with ^ Phanyxx haha

  • Anonymous

    Awesome article. Agree with everything, and…

    +1 for the leaning on pole.
    +1 for getting up for people who clearly need the seat.
    +1 for taking that DAMN backpack off!

    (Yes, that last one is a peeve of mine, and I have a backpack, but I ALWAYS take if off whether the train is full or not.)

  • Sensitive Nose and Cranky

    My favourite are the people who smell of mothballs and cat pee. What the hell? Oh and the smokers who put out their cig, then stuff it in their front pocket to save for later–love those guys.

    Another rider I'm rather fond of are the ones who don't want to sit by the window and won't get up for you when it's your stop. They just just get a faceful of butt and an elbow to the head as I try to get by.

    Wicked. Now skytrain is stuck and some dude who went on a bender last night is threatening to fall asleep on me.

  • @polarisdotca

    Can I add:

    Turn down your damn iPod. Listening to ch-chch-ch-chchch-ch-ch is really annoying. How loud is it in your ears if I'm hearing it from way over here?

    And sorry if you had a long day at school but Wake-TFU! If you doze and wobble and thunk into me one more time, I'm gonna shove you off you seat and into the aisle, dude!

  • Anonymous

    One pet peeve that I didn't see here are the people who stand DIRECTLY in front of the doors before the Skytrain has even left King George so they're first in line for the next train. I've pushed past those people a few times and got dirty looks. If you don't want that train, get the hell out of the way of people that do!

  • Anonymous

    Well written and oh-so-true.

    I would have to add one of my many, many personal pet peeves is the person who chooses to sit on the aisle seat, with the window seat being unoccupied, and then refuses to make eye contact with the people still getting on the bus/Skytrain so they don't see people glaring at them. I don't know if it's because you're getting off in 20 stops and you don't want to bother the person who could be sitting next to you or if you just feel it's beneath you to sit that closely to a stranger. Move over and let someone sit next to you or feel the wrath of the transit-etiquette gods when you least expect it.

  • Anonymous

    wow! hahah, hilarious to read these comments for those of us that take transit daily. All very very true!

    My favorite is when the bus/skytrain is jammed, and someone decides to get up because they're going to get off in one (or for the more nervous folk two, maybe three) stop(s). Theres some sort of expectation that the sea of people (with no room to move) should part for them as (of course) they are the most important people there. Not that I won't move if needed, but seriously when its jam packed and the bus/train is in motion what do you want me to do?!! I'm not a contortionist!!! I asked someone that once (where do you want me to move) and they just gave me a glazed over look.

  • Anonymous

    great article!!!

  • Single and Picky

    I think all the comments have summed up the issues that regular users of transit have. I would add to the list, move to the back, if you want personal space then drive, but when I need my 135 or 99 or whatever and it passes with ample space in the back because everyone got lazy near the front it really annoys me. When I've been on those buses and yelled at people to move back, people move away from me – fair enough but basically people stop being selfish a-holes and move to the back, sit/stand do whatever but make room for all those people the bus just passed by.

    As a whole my issue is that is seems that as a whole there still seems to be a lack of desire for ettiquette. Posts like these are great, they reaffirm the things I say daily but it doesn't seem to change anything. I suggested to Translink via tweet a while ago that because of this lack of desire that there needs to be some kind of incentive policy for courteous people as there isn't enough public shaming for those who do not care to be courteous.

  • Anonymous

    Common Etiquette still needs to be told to people? should be happy that ain't asia where the overwhelming crowd leaves no personal space. If 25-30 mins train or bus ride is unacceptable then wait for the population to double in near future or wait for stupid predictions like 2012.

    To the people who don't move there A**, simply politely push them to the back. We cannot change for everyone nor we can change everyone, but we can act in certain ways to make them realize how there act is unreasonable. This can all be done with less frustration and anger, because it DOES NOT HOLD MORE VALUABLE THAN OUR HEALTH AND MIND.

  • Sally (@balisally)

    This article is so funny because it is true. You forgot about people that love to clip their nails on transit. Makes me want to puke every time. One day I know I will, I just won't be able to help myself.

  • Anonymous

    Okay – not fair a fair comment about Edmonton LRT. In the evenings and on Sundays the wait is no more than 15 minutes, not 20 on weekends as you stated. I know you're making a point, but please be fair and accurate.

    Also, Canada Line in Richmond is every 20 minutes late at night.

  • Anonymous

    i agreed with everything you said in the article EXCEPT for the Chinese part. i don't care if you're saying that for real or if it's a joke, my perception is that it's a racist comment. Why must you only stress the fact it's Chinese people who are impolite and not other races? There are impolite people in any society throughout all races. While there may be cultural differences between the Chinese and western societies, it is everyone's responsibility to teach and learn from one another what's sociably acceptable.

  • Anonymous

    What if the writer was chinese is it still racist? no so shut the fuck up please. PC people piss me off

  • Anonymous

    Another rider I'm rather fond of are the ones who don't want to sit by the window and won't get up for you when it's your stop.

    I hate that too. I figure if they don't get up to let you get by if they get hit in the face by my groceries or get stepped on it's their own damn fault.

    Same with those who try to push on before people get off the Skytrain. I will push by you.

  • Anonymous

    STOP SITTING ON THE AISLE SEAT! While leaving the window seat open! Unless you have a problem with your legs which I can understand there is no excuses. Especially when you refuse to move for people getting on the bus and you won't look at them.

  • @kristieyung

    Bahaha. Almost peed my pants reading this. Awesome post =)

  • Anonymous

    Only one I disagree with is the running for the train. Sometimes 3-5 minutes wait for a train means I miss a bus that only comes every half hour. I won't bowl people over though!

  • Anonymous

    Showers are important, too.

  • Anonymous

    I liked taking the transit before when I commute an hour to work. The time on the bus let's me relax and not worry about traffic. Better yet, I get to catch up on my news or tweet with my phone.
    Unfortunately, I realize after 3 years of transiting that no matter what u say or do, nothing will ever change in the BC way of transiting.
    I completely agree with everything u said in the blog. Hell, I seen an old woman coming onto the bus and yelling at two teen girls for sitting @ the front even though there were seats open but she just wanted to make those girls miserable.

    I have seen and experienced now realize that I am better off driving. I know it pollution but I rather not have an urge to shoulder check people or trip them and feel horrible for the rest of the day.

    In order to save earth and pollution we must first save our courtesy in transit.

  • Anonymous

    You forgot one super annoying thing that nobody does, which is move to the back of the bus. It's definitely my pet peeve and there have been so many times where I've been able to squeeze through the front of the bus and find about 5 more seats in the back. It doesn't make any sense why do people have to crowd in the front of the bus, I find it so much easier to be standing in the back and then in the front. It also makes more room instead of being squished like sardines and then people would actually be able to get up for an elderly person who needs a seat in the front.

  • Darth_tuna_queen

    Really?? I thought this was funny until you got into the gay joke “I hope that chick you picked up at the Roxy turns out to be a dude”, and then got into racial stereotyping.

    Totally unnecessary and unhelpful as we strive not only to improve transit courtesy, but also human courtesy. Lay off the gay jokes, they’re not funny and make the real lives of gay people that much more difficult.

  • SimplyMajestic

    I found them funny. You have issues that you need to resolve it looks like.

  • daniel cook

    Sounds like some one picked up a dood from the Roxy this past long weekend.

  • anon

    if they are elderly Chinese women… 99% chance they may know kung-fu and not karate. Does the author know that kung-fu is Chinese and karate is Japanese?

  • Amr

    How was that a gay joke? No one was making fun of gay people. Chill out.

  • Amr

    And for goodness sake… SHOWER & WEAR DEODERANT PEOPLE!!

  • Nikolai Romick

    You missed the worst one… People who just walk to the front of the line, past everyone else that is waiting.

    On the 99 “free-line”, everyone just piles to the front of the line EVERY time… It’s just chaos… and it’s aggravating.