Monday, April 26, 2010

Bus Etiquette

Let's talk a little about proper etiquette on a public bus. Many of the following rules seem like common sense; if these seem obvious to you, and you have never been on a public bus (or possibly all forms of public transit, with which I have no experience), TRUST ME in that people do not follow these rules.

The majority of the rules deal with a full bus, as social etiquette is more necessary when there is someone besides you and the bus driver on the bus. Although, there is never a good time to ride the bus naked. That one doesn't change. Here we go.

1. If the bus is full, and someone boards that might possibly need a seat more than you (e.g. elderly, handicapped, pregnant, carrying a large bag, carrying a small child), GIVE UP YOUR SEAT. If I see one more spry twenty-something lounging in a seat, rockin out to his iPod, oblivious to the eighty-year-old woman with diabetic foot ulcers desperately clutching the pole next to him as she tries not to face-plant when the driver brakes, I WILL PUNCH SOMEONE.

2. That rule is also extended to anyone that looks at least old enough to be your parent. This is out of respect, not because you should assume they are very near to death as with elderly folks in Rule #1. My parents would be quiet offended if you implied they were not capable of standing on a crowded bus, but they would certainly appreciate any youth that still "respects his elders."

3. If the bus is crowded, and there are people standing, your backpack/purse/newspaper/pet dragon BETTER NOT HAVE ITS OWN SEAT. Is your purse more important than any of your fellow passengers? Don't you have a lap? Will your backpack burst into flames if you put it on the floor under your seat? If your baggage is a small child that will fit in your lap, I can understand leaving them in their own seat, or putting them in your lap. However, if Rule #1 is true, put that kid in your lap (thereby forcing your youngling to obey #1. Start early.).

4. If you are on an aisle seat and approaching your stop, politely ask the person next to you if he or she would pull the signal for you. No one wants your stankity pit in his face when you awkwardly try to pull the line yourself. Additionally, you never know what the bus driver will do. One quick acceleration, and you are in your neighbor's lap. Awkward.

5. STOP SHOUTING. If I can hear you on the other end of the bus, you are TOO LOUD. If you are on your cell phone, just ASSUME YOU'RE TOO LOUD. Because you always, always are.

6. If your conversation is with someone across the aisle, it is very annoying. However, I understand these things happen and I am not against them in theory. BUT if you are going to annoy everyone by half-yelling about what Bob said at dinner last night, have the courtesy to keep your language clean. Whether or not I have my four-year-old with me is moot: no one wants to hear it.

7. If you are boarding and see someone sprinting down the street to catch the bus, don't ignore them. If they are only a few feet away, have the decency to enter the bus slowly, or be sure the driver sees them. We've all been that sweaty person with our jacket and backpack flying behind us and a bagel clenched in our teeth as we rush out of the house, only to end up chasing the bus down the street and eventually retreating to the bus stop, defeated and embarrassed.

8. Thank the bus driver when you get off the bus. He or she might be cranky, or a terrible driver, or creep everyone out by singing along with "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" on the radio... but would you want their job? Be thankful. Let's consider that a general rule.

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