Public transport etiquette

Travel by train or bus? These unwritten rules of conduct should be non-negotiable. Right?

Don’t push
When boarding a train or a carriage, wait for other passengers to exit before getting on. Never jostle past people who are trying to get off.

Don't sprawl in your seat

…or put dirty feet on the seat opposite. Equally, don't take up an additional seat with your excess baggage. You haven't paid for two seats.

Do offer your seat to the elderly
Always offer your seat to those who need it more than you do, such as the elderly. Be gracious, willing and act swiftly when you see someone in need.

And to pregnant women
If pregnancy is in any doubt, it is best to quietly vacate your seat, move away and hope that your intended recipient will gravitate toward it. You may make a serious faux pas if you mistakenly think someone is expecting. Mothers with small children in tow should also be given priority.

Be aware of others
Personal space is a luxury in an overcrowded carriage, so be aware of other people. Don't stand too close or push past.

Don’t squeeze in
Know when the carriage is full and don't try to push your way onto an already packed train. Be patient and wait for the next train.

Show tolerance

Be tolerant if sudden lurches (a frequent occurrence on buses and the train) propel you into close proximity with other passengers. Apologize if you're the perpetrator, and smile politely if you're the one being crushed.

Turn your phone convos down

Some train carriages are very quiet, packed with commuters reading newspapers or working on their laptops, so be aware that mobile phone conversations are very disturbing.

Be discreet

Keep conversations with travelling companions quiet - you don't want everyone on the bus to be involuntarily eavesdropping.

Respect rules and regulations
This may not apply in South Africa, but if and when commuting overseas, respect designated "quiet zones." If someone else is doing the talking, politely point out the sign to them, prefacing your remark with a deprecating "I'm sure you haven't noticed the sign but..."

Don’t be disgusting

Put discarded newspapers, coffee cups and so on into the bin - no one will want to sit surrounded by your detritus. Be aware that eating greasy, smelly food (such as burgers and KFC!) may well nauseate your fellow passengers, and is a major cause of litter.

Your baggage…

If you're wearing a rucksack, avoid turning around or moving from side to side abruptly. Equally, take extra care with oversized luggage or wheelie suitcases. When overseas and if necessary, help other people to put their luggage in the overhead racks.

Keep your music down
If you are going to listen to music on headphones, ensure that they do not broadcast too much sound. It is the height of bad manners to inflict music, or a noisy DVD soundtrack, on other people in a confined public place.

Help others
Help people with heavy baggage, mothers with pushchairs and elderly passengers who find the step off the train difficult.

What do you hate most about public transport? Share your concerns in the box below.
 

- Reuters

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