Check out these Queensland Rail public service announcements. I think they are brilliant. The parodies are good as well. Here are the Queensland Rail “train etiquette 15 behaviours” below the fold.

  1. Keep your feet on the floor, do not put feet on seats.
  2. If you are occupying a Priority Seat, vacate the seat for someone who has a disability, is elderly, pregnant or carrying young children.
  3. Take your rubbish off the train when you disembark.
  4. Do not consume food or drinks (other than water) on the train.
  5. When you are waiting to board the train, stand aside to let customers disembark the train first.
  6. Arrive at the platform at least two minutes prior to the departure time of your train.
  7. If you are occupying a designated a wheelchair space by sitting or standing in it, or with bags, bicycles or prams, you must vacate the space for a person in a wheelchair.
  8. Refrain from having loud conversations, talking on mobile phones or listening to loud musical devices when travelling in a quiet carriage, and keep noise to a minimum in all other carriages.
  9. Allow more customers to board the train during busy periods by moving down the walkway inside the carriage.
  10. Place your bag on your knee or under the seat, not on the seat, to allow room for others to sit down.
  11. Ensure the safety of other customers by keeping bags out of walkways and away from train doors at all times.
  12. If you are occupying a seat next to the walkway, stand to allow customers to pass you when they are disembarking the train, or if they wish to sit in the window seat.
  13. Do not take bicycles on the train during peak periods.
  14. Allow other customers to disembark the train before you, do not push or barge.
  15. Move along the platform and board the first or last carriages on the train to alleviate congestion on the middle carriages.

I think that’s an awesome good list, though “allow other customers to disembark the train before you, do not push or barge” is not logically sound.

132 Replies to “Super Simple Stuff”

  1. 16, Never board public transit if you haven’t bathed in the last 72 hours.
    17. Never stand at the farebox, whizzing down your pant leg, while drunk.
    18. Never sit behind the driver while being pissed at someone else.

    1. 19. Have fare or pass ready before you board

      Oh what fun when someone takes their sweet time digging out fare when trying to connect to a once-hourly bus :(

      1. Even better when it is all small change and scattered between various pockets and bags.

    2. 20. Even though public transit has railings and handholds inside, it’s not an excuse to act like an ape.

      1. 18. should have qualified that. They’re drivers, not bartenders to listen to half a story, especially on a cell phone.

  2. “Refrain from having loud conversations, talking on mobile phones ….”

    This isn’t logical. Why is it okay to talk quietly to someone sitting next to you on the train or bus, but not to talk quietly on one’s cell phone?

    “Because people tend to talk more loudly on cell phones than in person,” many often say.

    If that’s the reason for the ban, then the rule should be no talking in person or on a cell phone over a certain decibel level, not to have a blanket rule against talking on cell phones.

      1. You are right. You got me to change my mind on this issue. All things that annoy us must be banned.

      2. Which reminds me, two things that annoy me on public transportation are people making-out (kissing), and clipping fingernails. Add these two things to list of things that are strictly verboten!

      3. Say what you will, many transportation systems around the world have rules about this, or offer quiet areas. What about the kids that listen to audible music on the bus? What about screaming homeless people? We have to draw the line somewhere.

        In a few years it won’t be an issue. Texting seems to be taking over all forms of conversation these days anyway.

      4. All out sexual intercourse isn’t the problem – it’s the handjobs and oral sex that couples (as well as client-business arrangements) that take place in the rear seats where people somehow think that the cameras (and driver’s mirror for that matter) can’t see what they are doing.

        Too many people who ride the bus in this area are just plain animals – and the rest of us who watch (or turn our heads away) without doing or saying anything are complicit in maintaining the menagerie.

    1. I care less about loud people then when people use their mobile phone as a speaker phone.

    2. Because some people don’t get it that you can converse on a mobile phone in a normal manner and that it’s not necessary to shout to be heard at the other end. Part of it is the way mobile phones vs. regular phones work. On a regular phone you have “side tone” so that you hear your own voice level. On a mobile phone you generally don’t.

      1. A bigger problem than the distraction of the one-sided conversation is the obliviousness with which people speak on the cell phone. Dropping “f-bombs” and “n-words” and saying all sorts of personal (and often sordid) things to the person on the other end of the phone as if they were in a private room. Folks tend to do a better job of self-moderating when they are talking face to face and not disappearing down the rabbit hole and false privacy of the cell phone conversation.

      2. Fair enough – as folks tend to compensate for the ambient noise by shouting into their cell phone. However – as the problem conversations (compensation and all) sound frivolous and optional, I would maintain (particularly that ambient noise is not a new phenomenon and cell phones are) that the real problem is some people’s lack of concern for how their behavior impacts others around them, especially when it’s droning into the ear of the operator of the 30-ton killing machine.

  3. How about the ethics of someone who lives in Issaquah driving to Mercer Island P&R to get better frequency, leaving people who actually live on Mercer Island without parking?

    1. P&Rs are public parking garages … they are not exclusive to any particular neighborhood’s residents

    2. I didn’t realize Mercer Island P & R was for Mercer Island residents only. What about the people who meet there to go hiking and wish to ride-share into the mountains? What about the people who would like to live on MI? Don’t they have rights?

    3. How about they’re a public resource for everyone’s benefit? Just as the buses that make the P&R useful are coming from everywhere else and paid for by everyone.

  4. This is further proof that Australia has overtaken America as the most advanced nation on earth.

    1. Though you forgot about the groups of 18-20 year olds in packs drinking on the trains on their way into the city for a night of partying..regardless of the signs prohibiting it..:)

      1. That was a joke, ispeakijg of signs prohibiting things, I have a flickr set that is photos of people smoking next to no smoking signs on train platforms.

      2. I think it’s just nice that our young adults have learned how to use transit. I hope they don’t learn how to vomit on the way home :(

    2. Keep in mind that the list references behaviors which a problem… [and judging from some Australian train group I sometimes, read, … well, I get the feeling that politeness on transit isn’t a strong point there.]

      [The latest “mind your manners posters” I’ve noticed here basically say: (1) don’t wander near the platform edge while drunk, and (2) don’t walk near the platform edge in a daze, engrossed in your cellphone display… “Not only can this behavior sometimes result in grievous bodily injury, but you may inconvenience tends of thousands of fellow passengers!” ]

  5. I think transit systems that ban eating and drinking on board are short-circuiting their market share expansion. One of the benefits of transit that encourages “choice” ridership is the idea that you can do things en route that you can’t/shouldn’t while driving.

    Especially on the AM commute, being able to catch a few winks or down some coffee and breakfast would be a trmendous benefit.

    I advocate modifying transit policy on food and drinks to driver’s discretion/common sense: no messy or smelly items and dispose of your garbage properly. The garbage issue is why most transit systems banned food and drinks in the 1970s/1980s. A policy of driver’s discretion allows the driver to ban such things on his or her individual bus if it becomes a problem and also may encourage people to do the right thing knowing the privilege can be taken away….

    1. Coffee is not a big deal. Have you ever been on a bus for an hour with someone eating albertsons fried chicken ? I have, and I drove to work from then on.

      1. Well, I can see a few issues with eating fried chicken on a bus: 1) bits of breading falling about; 2) bones; and 3) greasy fingies afterwards. On the common sense scale, I’d say it’s borderline. A careful person who eats over the container so as not to leave crumbs, puts his/her bones in the container when done and throws it away properly, and napkins his/her fingies so as not to grease up the bus, should be able to eat fried chicken on the bus. People not willing and/or able to do so shouldn’t.

      2. I don’t think anyone should eat fried chicken on the bus, ever. Even if they follow those rules.

        A candy bar is fine, a donut is okay, but that’s about it.

      3. Solution: No outside food to be consumed on the bus. A food vender will be by shortly with a selection of candy bars and donuts.

      4. Yes, the solution to the fatest nation in the history of the world is more food.

        Right? Or maybe not. Maybe you should eat like a civilized person and you wouldn’t be so large.

      5. I meant the “you all” you, not the “matt the engineer” you.

        Still, I’ve never met you, mate, but you must know the answer. Especially if you’re eating on the bus. I’m in great shape. I’ll race on foot (that’s running) you around lake sammamish to prove the better fitness if you’d like.

  6. Had a curious thing happen yesterday on Link. I was sitting on the 3 seat sideways row by myself when a middle age woman boards then proceeds to sit down right beside me. No observing the American personal space rule of “take the seat or urinal farthest or more evenly spaced amongst you.”

      1. I was considering if she was “warm for my form” but she pulled out a book and there was no eye contact or other interaction. I think she was “European”. :-)

      2. She figured that she’d be sharing seats with someone – by choosing someone rather than letting someone else choose her, it happened on her terms.

        Perfectly understandable – and yes, you should feel flattered. Maybe you just had the skinniest butt, offering maximum seatage.

      3. Often, the seat next to me is the last one to be filled. And my butt is not particularly skinny. I chalk it up to the interesting and memorable experiences I have riding public transit.

      4. I have a friend that uses [Bevis]’s strategy when she knows it’s going to be a full bus. Better to choose sitting next to someone well dressed that doesn’t smell than have the drunk guy that hasn’t bathed sit next to you.

    1. I remember reading once that in some Asian countries a person would be offended if someone did not sit down next to him/her even if the bus had no other passengers. Perhaps this was the case here?

  7. If you are standing, and carrying a giant backpack, please consider taking the backpack off. If you must keep it on, try to avoid shoving passengers behind you in the face with your huge backpack.

    1. This is really annoying on the 71/72/73/74, the students seem clueless and are always hitting other passengers with their backpacks or completely blocking the aisle.

    2. That’s easier said than done because, on a crowded 71/72/73 bus, there is really no good place to put a large backpack. Most ST buses have overhead bins, but Metro buses do not.

      If you’re looking for a good solution for carrying large amounts of stuff without squeezing it onto a crowded bus, I strongly recommend getting a bike trailer. A large backpack fits rather nicely onto a standard bob trailer with some cheap bungy cords. Besides staying out of people’s way, it’s both faster and cheaper than riding the bus. Even loaded with a trailer, I can get from my front door to the center of downtown in as little as 25 minutes. By contrast, on a Sunday, a 71/72/73 local would take about the same amount of time once you finally start moving PLUS 10 minutes of waiting at the bus stop (arrive at the stop 5 minutes early for a bus that’s 5 minutes late) PLUS 10 minutes of walking from home to the bus stop PLUS 5 minutes getting out of the Westlake tunnel station and walking to my final destination. When all is said and done, U-district to downtown is almost twice as fast by bike as by bus.

      1. If you are standing on the bus taking off the backpack and setting it on the floor means you won’t be hitting other people with it and also makes it easier to make space for someone to get by you in the aisle.

    3. I used to carry a backpack and felt embarrassed when riding the bus because I was fully aware of the problem. When messenger bags came into fashion, I switched, primarily because messenger bags are easier to control.

      Now that purses have become socially acceptable for men by being called “messenger bags”, how about dresses? I wish I could wear a dress without being perceived as effeminate or gay. I have a big belly and no a**, so keeping my pants up requires a belt so tight it cuts into me. A skirt/kilt doesn’t solve the problem, but a dress would as it hangs off the shoulders. I hope some fashion designer “mans up” the dress and calls it something else and it takes off! But I digress…. (Yes, I’ve switched from a belt to suspenders and that helped my pant problem a lot, but I still think a “manned up” dress would be a cool thing!)

      1. You live in a city. Seattle no less. Nobody would blink an eye at your man-dress, in fashion or not.

  8. The best thing about the Sounder is being able to eat or drink whatever you want.

    1. This is why America is in such a bad way these days. Selfish people doing whatever they want, everyone else be damned.

      1. Also explains their love affair with cars and how they will not give them up easily. You can eat, drink, cuss, fart, and sing as if you were the only person in the world.

        That’s certainly what I miss about driving my own car. :-)

  9. No eating on an overpriced commuter rail system? What?!? In New York, they actually serve booze on the train during rush hours!

    I’ll eat my calzone and drink my pepsi and you’ll like it Queenie!

    I do think anything larger than a sandwich or candy bar shouldn’t be consumed on the city bus, but for longer journeys, it should be okay to munch.

    Brian Bradford
    Kennewick, WA

  10. I’ve noticed on Metro’s rules of conduct posted inside their buses, swearing is not disallowed. So that means it’s okay to cuss your brains out, as long as it’s done at a reasonable level?

    1. Washington State has more respect for free speech than Minnesota.

      The Duluth Transit Authority has a *zero tolerance* policy for swearing and they seriously enforce it. There was one passenger who was waiting at a bus stop. The driver didn’t notice him until very late and approached the stop at full speed. A second or so before passing the stop, the driver noticed him and started to stop even though he would’ve been across the intersection by the time he actually stopped. The waiting passenger thought he was being passed up and flipped the bird at the driver with both hands. The driver just saw it as he was slowing down – and promptly sped up again and passed up the passenger on purpose. I was on that bus and I thought the driver’s action was unfair, though I didn’t say anything. This was a great example of what is wrong with “zero tolerance” policies….

      Twin Cities Metro Transit officially enacted a “no profanity” rule about a year ago, but only a few drivers actually enforce it.

      Personally, I think a “no loud or boisterous talk” rule would be more effective at keeping the peace without censoring anyone.

  11. Hey, how about: “Run a transit system that isn’t horrifically slow and unreliable, so that I don’t have to make the unfortunate choice between eating during my trip, not eating at all, or not getting there.

    I just had this out with a 49 driver recently, who almost cost me an hourly late-night connection in the pouring rain, because he had a problem with my holding very well-contained food as I boarded. (Rather than call him out on the fact that his bus already smelled like some had been rotting in the back for weeks, I took the 10 I could see coming behind him and made my connection by the skin of my teeth.)

    When it comes to matters of “cleanliness” and of “respecting the needs of passengers,” Metro possesses not one square inch of the high ground.

    And yes, I do understand that Washington, DC’s draconian crackdown on eating has led to a rat-free subway. Irrelevant. KC Metro doesn’t have a subway and rats won’t be boarding the buses anytime soon. This is about irrationally making themselves a less inhabitable space and a less useful way to get around, just like they always do.

    1. Odd, I’ve rarely had a metro driver say anything about food or drink I was carrying. If I’m not consuming the item while boarding they at most will tell me not to eat it on the bus.

      1. I have had people attempt to board my bus carrying open bowls of cereal or plates of food they had just gotten at a soup kitchen. Anything covered or coverable (clamshell containers, etc.) is fine. If someone gets on with an open chicken dinner or styro-bowl of Pho uncovered – I ask them not to board.

      2. It shouldn’t matter if I’ve got my chopsticks out and obviously intend (out of necessity) to eat in motion, as long as the food is in an appropriate container and clearly not inclined to spill.

        We’re not talking about dripping ice cream cones or kebabs in nothing but a napkin, here. Most people can figure out not to bring those things on the bus without an official injunction.

        But Metro loses the high ground anyway by never cleaning their vehicles in the first place, and by putting so little effort into making it easy to get to your destination with plenty of extra time to eat.

      3. dp, you remind me of this dumb guy that I saw waiting at the bus stop with me one time. We stood there for at least 10 minutes waiting for the bus, and this guy was holding a McDonald’s bag the whole time. Never once opening it and eating the burger that was in there. But, as soon as the bus came and we sat down, he started to eat. Eat your god-damned burger while you are waiting at the bus stop, moron!

      4. The bus is designed for transportation – not as a mobile eatery. The person in the next seat(s) should not have to see/smell/listen to you eating in a captive environment. Ar you seriously complaining that bus rides don’t take long enough to allow you to eat a meal?

      5. Sam,

        Obviously I would do that if time allowed. But if I likely won’t have time to grab food on the other end, and I’ve barely managed to grab food before my bus comes, and not getting on the bus would mean 20-30 more minutes of waiting and getting to my destination late, then I’m getting on the bus with my food, period.


        The bus in Seattle is designed only for slow, laborious, time-wasting transportation. And no, I said the bus is often too slow to allow for getting and consuming food on either end of the trip. Learn to read, learn to drive.

      6. D.P.,
        I both read and drive fine thanks. I also mangae to feed myself without doing so sitting inches away from an unwilling audience – and I’m on the bus a hell of a lot longer than you are. Another classic d.p. “I am at the center of the universe!” Thread. Keep up the good work.

      7. Do you eat before or after you get online to bitch about inadequate “recover time” because the bus you drive is so damned late?

        Or perhaps you eat between bitching about how all of your customers hate and mistreat and don’t appreciate you. (Funny, because the vast majority of Seattle customers are polite to a fault toward all but the most incompetent and unpleasant drivers. Make of that what you will.)

        And since you interpreted my above statement as wishing for an even slower ride because I want to spend 90 minutes eating on the bus rather than having enough time to eat before or after my trip, it is pretty clear that your reading comprehension is equally sub-par.

      8. “in the years that you have posted on this blog, you have never once admitted that maybe — just maybe — Metro has policies and operating procedures and system-design flaws that could be contributing to a sub-optimal mass-transit service”

        False. I’ve even done so on this very thread.

        Is that all you’ve got? A false statement easily and immediately disproven?

        And what (even if true) would any of that have to do with the idea that it’s rude, ignorant, narcissistic and a violation of Metro’s code of conduct to eat on the bus?

        Nada. Nil. Nuttin’.

        In the years you’ve been posting on this blog you never cease to disappoint at being irrelevant, ignorant – or just plain wrong.

        Good job.

      9. Just Ctrl-F “Beavis” on this thread, Beavis.

        Of your 12 posts…

        – 3 do nothing but attack your entire customer base as vomiting, “n-word”-dropping “animals” who may or may not also be prostitutes.
        – 5 contain nothing but ad hominem attacks directed at me.
        – 1 explains your personal (and, in fact, perfectly reasonable) criteria for permitting food packaged a certain way aboard the bus you drive.
        – 1 compliments another poster on his butt.
        – and 2 chastise your superiors for not having your back for the purposes of etiquette maintenance… while also getting in some bonus digs at your “narcissistic” riders.

        There’s a difference between bitching about your bosses and actually acknowledging the structural flaws in the transit system for which you drive.

        Your default reaction to any and all criticism or disagreement is still to cite an inertia-based policy or practice, then to claim either that it works fine as-is or that it would work better if enforced to the letter, and finally to accuse everyone you encounter in the course of your workday of being out to get you. Paranoia is an especially unflattering form of narcissism.

      10. I have not said any such thing about my “entire customer bas”. As you said to me: learn to read. And my use of the term “narcissistic” was aimed (justifiaably) at you exclusively.

      11. “Etiquette on King County buses? Don’t make me laugh. This region has lost all sense of the idea of decorum in confined public places. People are narcissistic, rude, and oblivious and uncaring about how or whether their behavior affects those around them. And that’s just the middle-class working folks.”

        So I’m multiple “people,” now? What fun that must be for me!

        As usual, Beavis, truth, sense and Ctrl-F make a fool of you.

    2. I once saw a 44 driver order a passenger to throw out a full container or food he had just bought in order to board the bus. However, his food was not well-contained – had he brought it on, it would have made a horrible mess, so I believe the driver clearly made the right call here.

      The irony, though, is we were headed towards the U-district and were already in Wallingford – the guy could have finished his meal and just walked home. In fact, the amount of money he spent on the meal he threw away probably would have even been enough for a cab.

      1. I do believe it’s fair to ban messy or smelly food. It’s just that someone with a long trip may desire to save time by using their in-seat time to read, text, make phone calls, or eat. I see nothing wrong with that within the bounds of common sense. An open plate of Chinese food, NO! A dripping ice cream cone, NO! A candy bar in the hands of a small child, NO! A hot dog dripping with condiments, NO! A McDonald’s hamburger, fine as long as it’s not one of the fancy ones with tomatoes and other veggies falling out the sides. A piece of pizza, fine as long as there aren’t toppings falling off. (I suspect New York places that sell pizza by the slice sell mostly simple styles for a reason….) Common sense!!!!

    3. d.p. – I am fully aware that parts of our transit system are horrifying slow and reliable, but it is your choice to use them. If I insisted on starting every trip to work by waiting at the closest bus stop to my residence, I would have an extra transfer and the first 2 miles would be a slow and unreliable 20-30 of ride/wait time. However, instead of screaming about it, I vote with my feet that this is unacceptable and run or bike those 2 miles instead, leaving me with a one-seat 10-15 minute bus ride, plus 10 minutes of biking or 15 minutes of jogging, rather than the alternative of a 2-3 seat hour-long, sedentary bus ride.

      1. Correcting a few typos…

        d.p. – I am fully aware that parts of our transit system are horrifying slow and unreliable, but it is your choice to use them. If I insisted on starting every trip to work by waiting at the closest bus stop to my residence, I would have an extra transfer and the first 2 miles would be a slow and unreliable 20-30 minutes of ride/wait time. However, instead of screaming about it, I vote with my feet that this is unacceptable and run or bike those 2 miles instead, leaving me with a one-seat 10-15 minute bus ride, plus 10 minutes of biking or 15 minutes of jogging, rather than the alternative of a 2-3 seat hour-long, sedentary bus ride.

      2. asdf,

        60-90 minute trips between Ballard to Capitol Hill are basically unavoidable.

        Walk to a different Ballard bus, walk up and down the slope of the Hill, strategize with OneBusAway, whatever — you’re still looking at massive wait time + unreliability + transfer or walking penalties. At least a small part of this will be fixed in 2016.

        Not eating or not getting there is a choice with which I am frequently faced. No one wants to eat on the bus, but if your dumb system forces me too, you have no moral leverage to complain when I do.

      3. d.p. if someone is “forcing” you to eat aboard a bus rather than at a stop, between stops, or on your own damn time then you should notify the authorities to come and take care of that person with the gun to your head.

      4. If the solution is to get you to stop being suck a narcissistic wanker, I’m clean out of ideas.

      5. Beavis, in the years that you have posted on this blog, you have never once admitted that maybe — just maybe — Metro has policies and operating procedures and system-design flaws that could be contributing to a sub-optimal mass-transit service.

        In your default “defensive” mode, you have never admitted that Seattle even has anything less than flawless public transit.

        You can’t fix what you won’t admit is broken.
        Which makes you part of the problem.

      6. d.p, you are literally saying that metro’s policies are making you eat on the bus. Except metro’s policy is clearly no food on the bus. Think about that. You have no idea what you are saying, or how little sense you are making.

        If you read this as someone else you would be surprised. You have many choices other than taking a bus from Ballard to Capitol Hill, if you can’t see that…

      7. No, he’s saying that Metro’s system structure forces him to eat on the bus, even though that’s in violation of Metro’s policies.

      8. Thank you, Morgan.

        Andrew, I know that you are well aware of the inefficiencies and unreliability of any Metro trips, especially those involving connections. It’s half of why you started the blog. I know that you’re also aware of the way low-frequency services prohibit “stopping off” along the way — the sort of chain-trips people with cars and people with access to real transit do without a second though — which would be the optimal time to procure and consume food.

        Metro prohibits this. When you’ve got food in hand and an infrequent bus shows up, you’d be stupid to pass it up.

        This is Metro’s problem, not mine.

      9. When you’ve got food in hand and an infrequent bus shows up, you’d be stupid to pass it up.

        I think the problem is that that story makes no sense to me. I am literally never in that situation, and can’t recall ever being in that situation. So we’re talking past eachother.

        You’re right Metro sucks at reliability and timeliness. Which is which I always eat before. Mostly I solve the problem by not being so time constrained. But, I dunno, we’re all not parents, entrepreneurs, blog starters, full-time-employees and volunteers.

  12. The ban on bikes at peak times tells me either they must have transit that goes to everyone’s front door, or haven’t received the memo about “last mile.”

    1. They’re a high-volume service. They’re busy. They’ve outright banned cash payment at peak times (we haven’t even disincentivized it). They’re serving lots of people as efficiently as they can.

      Sometimes, bikes just plain conflict with efficiency or capacity. Deal with it.

    2. The ban is for good reason. If you’ve ever been on a Washington D.C. metrorail train during the peak period in the peak direction, you will observe aisles that are so crowded with people standing, there simply isn’t room for bikes.

      Also, D.C. does use bikes as one way to deal with the last-mile problem. They have bike parking at the rail stations on the suburban side, and on the downtown side, they have a bike-sharing system.

      1. +1 for bike-sharing. On-board bikes are not a scalable solution.

        Unfortunately, Australian bike-share is a failure thanks to their ridiculous helmet laws (just as it would be a failure in Seattle thanks to our ridiculous helmet laws).

  13. Etiquette on King County buses? Don’t make me laugh. This region has lost all sense of the idea of decorum in confined public places. People are narcissistic, rude, and oblivious and uncaring about how or whether their behavior affects those around them. And that’s just the middle-class working folks.

    Unfortunately, there is no “code of conduct” enforcement – or awareness – of any kind aboard buses (or at bus stops for that matter); bus drivers are hamstrung by their managers from saying anything to anyone, and security is nonexistent.

    I grew up in this area as a bus rider long before I was a bus driver. The behavior of people on public transit has changed a lot since I was a regular bus rider, and not for the better.

    1. The worst behavior I’ve seen is usually before we even board. People running up at the last minute and just walking in front of you to board. Then, naturally sitting in the last seat available. This pretty much sums up my experience daily on my commute.
      Bus drivers cannot police behavior. They have enough to worry about.

      1. Bus drivers cannot police behavior – agreed. But we shouldn’t be disciplined for trying to remind people about the rules, or for refusing service to people who insist on violating them.

        Which is exactly what happens.

    2. Isn’t there still a King County ordinance about a woman may only sit on a man’s lap with a pillow between them on a bus?

  14. Is this permitted?
    While driving the 16 and running late all day, I ran across Alaska to get my favorite Thai sweet/sour bowl. Pullout in 6 minutes. “It’ll be close, but I can make it”…. Damn… my food didn’t come out for 5.
    After a mad dash, and pulling out down 3, I was stuck in the Mercer Mess, and hungry.
    “Don’t do it, I told my self”, but, damn, I was hungry, and I knew most of the regulars. OK, just a few bites, until Northgate.
    (Don’t set your rice bowl on the farebox, while you move forward a couple of car lengths)
    OK, you’ve guessed it! Car in front stops short, I tap the brakes, and the ricebowl is all over the floor and steps, with the wonderful smell of sweet sauce wafting in the warm summer air.
    OK, that’s gotta be #21 on my list.

  15. I’ve seen some comments here suggesting that the policy toward food on the bus should be “common sense” rather than an outright ban on food. Here’s the problem with that approach: Some people will see you eating, overlook your “well-contained” food, and surmise that eating in general is always permitted on the bus. Then they’ll go eating food on another bus, but their food won’t be as well-contained, or their manner won’t be as thoughtful, and Metro will lose some choice riders grossed out by people eating on the bus. If you’re not a diabetic or facing an immediate health risk, you shouldn’t be eating on the bus. Eat before you board, eat after you get off, or just go hungry for a few hours. Don’t solve your problem (hunger) by creating a problem for other passengers.

    I don’t care what you’re eating. Just don’t do it. I don’t want to hear you chewing. I don’t want to see food in your mouth. I don’t want to smell what you’re eating. I don’t want to see crumbs on the floor. I don’t want your greasy hands touching the stanchions. I don’t want you licking your fingers and touching surfaces inside the bus. Metro has a blanket “no eating” policy for a reason.

    1. Yes, that slippery slope is exactly right. You might eat your “well-contained food”, but someone else starts seeing that, misses the point, and starts eating fried chicken or pho. And there you go.

      1. I guarantee you that each of you has at least one habit that is likely to annoy at least some of the strangers you come across.

        You do not have in inalienable right to be shielded from all possible annoyances in a public space.

        The solution is rapid transit. The kind that reduces the impact of any odors, unchivalrous behavior, or other annoyances you may encounter simply by guaranteeing you won’t actually need to be on the vehicle for long.

        If Seattle insists on hour-plus basic in-city trips, I insist on the right to access sustenance along the way.

      2. You do not have in inalienable right to be shielded from all possible annoyances in a public space.

        Yes, I cannot get rid of you, though you are certainly annoying.

        Listen, dummy, the rules say no food. You are breaking the rules. You can justify it yourself by saying I am annoying, too. But I’m not breaking the rules.

      3. I also jaywalk liberally, and I accomplish basic utility-cycling trips without a helmet.

        A big part of Seattle’s failure to function as a city is born of its blind adherence to (and slavish obsessing over) “the rules.”

        [Ad hom] retorts aside, Andrew, your revulsion at the notion of eating in public is well-documented (see: past theads about street food). I’ve got my own OCD*; this one’s yours. Try not to practice transference about it.

        *(In part, mine involves not letting illogical statements go unchallenged.)

      4. you are right that I do have a hate on about it. Though the street food posts were tongue-in-cheek. It’s humour. It’s got a bit of truth, a bit of silliness.

      5. I agree with Andrew here – I don’t want to smell anybody’s chicken. If the food is heated or uses multiple spices, it is extremely smelly. Fried chicken is more than extremely smelly if you ask me. Whoever said it’s not smelly should go to a doctor to check-up their nose.

        What about about the people who avoid certain foods for religious reasons? This might be extremely offensive and emotional to them. I am vegetarian for health reasons and just find it disgusting.

        If I think about it, the whole performance of public transit is laughable. Why is it that private companies can run city-wide rapid transit networks for their employees and Metro, a company dedicated to transit, cannot? Why don’t they run a non-stop Ballard-Capitol Hill bus if people want it? 3 pick-ups in Ballard, 3 stops in Capitol Hill (and you cannot get off it in Ballard if you get on it). A fraction of the cost of rail, will get the job done well. Sure, not as comfortable as a train, but it may be quick enough so that people are okay with the idea of dealing with it – at least until the Seattle Subway takes off if it ever does.

      6. What about about the people who avoid certain foods for religious reasons? This might be extremely offensive and emotional to them.

        Again, you don’t have the right not to be offended in the public realm. This agnostic (and vegetarian) is incredibly thankful for the First Amendment protection from a sanitized society.

        The bans on all pig-related paraphernalia (including comic strips and children’s stories) popping up in British schools and government workplaces is, as far as I’m concerned, an unacceptable government endorsement of religious thin-skinnedness.

        Your suggestion is as problematic as the Republican insistence that Catholic hospitals should be able to dictate their every employee’s birth control regimen. Screw that. You exist in society, you participate in the economy, you recognize that you don’t get to inflict your religion upon everyone with whom you come into contact.

        Why don’t they run a non-stop Ballard-Capitol Hill bus…?

        Obviously I would use this a heck of a lot. But it shouldn’t be necessary!

        In, around, from, and between areas of walkable urban density, I should be able to get from anywhere to anywhere without it taking a million years!

        (Besides, Metro would probably only run such a bus a rush hour, doing nothing to solve the ridiculously slow mid-day, evening, and weekend journeys.)

      7. I agree, there is a fine line here, and I don’t want a “sanitized” society either. But as you might have seen in my post further down, I do want a “best effort” at being *considerate for others*. This has nothing to do with draconian rules set upon everybody, but with everybody, personally and individually thinking about what they do that might be hurtful to others and where possible reduce it.

        Eating on the bus is certainly reduce-able. Abortions on the other hand are incomparable.

    2. Bah, I can’t be responsible for everyone else’s behavior. If I am hungry and have a common sense food item available I am going to eat it.

    3. I admit you have a point. My counterpoint is that a major part of the value of riding transit is the ability to use travel time to multitask. New York City and Boston get this big time. Both cities allow food on their transit systems. This is a major commuter benefit from a time efficiency POV.

      Transit is almost always slower than driving. However, the ability to do something productive (as defined by the individual commuter) during a transit commute that one can’t or shouldn’t do while driving can more than make up for the time difference.

      All I’m suggesting is that from the POV of trying to increase transit ridership, repealing or modifying the no food/drink rule might be a good thing.

      “No sleeping” rules would be similarly counterproductive if enforced during the AM peak against “people who look like legitimate commuters”. A 60-90 minute early AM commute can be “productive” if you can use it to get a little extra sleep. Some transit systems have “no sleeping” rules but they’re rarely enforced against commuters at the AM peak, usually they’re aimed at the homeless…. IIRC the rule in Seattle is you can’t ride transit “for the sole purpose of” sleeping. (When I was homeless I was smart enough to memorise a plausible destination in case the driver or cops hassled me.)

      Some transit systems provide Wi-Fi as another way of making commute time “productive”.

      This isn’t based on any personal desire of mine. I don’t “commute” in the normal sense of the word. I’m self-conscious about eating in public so even if it was allowed, the idea of eating on a city bus doesn’t appeal to me.

      1. I don’t understand no sleeping rules. If a nearly-empty night train/bus can give someone a warm place to spend the night, isn’t that a good thing? Anyway, unless they’re snoring really loudly, it’s not like a sleeping person is bothering anyone.

  16. If I want to eat or drink on the train/bus I am going to do it, and no give a rip what other passengers say or think of it.

    That said I’m not going to eat something obnoxious either (no tuna, fried chicken, etc).

    More than anything though, I hate the prevailing attitude in Seattle that no one should ever be bothered by someone else. This is a city, that stuff happens.

    1. If I want to eat or drink on the train/bus I am going to do it, and no give a rip what other passengers say or think of it.

      You are self-absorbed. If you eat next to me, I’ll make you stop. [ad hom] like you are why people don’t like the bus.

      1. I’m self absorbed because you don’t like it? See the irony there?

        And how are you going to make me stop? [ad hom] and just mind your own business.

        People don’t like riding the bus because its slow and takes longer to get from point a to point b than driving does. It really is that simple.

      2. I’m self absorbed because you don’t like it

        No, the rules say don’t do it. You say “Fuck the rules. I do what I want.” That’s self-absorbed.

        I’d take your food probably, if it was fried chicken at least. Otherwise I pretty much don’t care, it’s really only the stinky shit that ruins the ride.

      3. 1) If anyone touches me or my things on the bus, they will regret it. I put up with enough as it on the bus, I won’t tolerate anyone touching me or my things.

        2) Read my post, I mentioned not eating obnoxious foods.

        3) Metro rules get broken all the time, are you here to enforce them all?

      4. If anyone touches me or my things on the bus, they will regret it. I put up with enough as it on the bus, I won’t tolerate anyone touching me or my things

        You’re joking. You put up with so much shit on the bus? Put your food away.

        With the stinky shit it’s the choice of getting rid of it or me vomiting on you.

      5. Come down from your tower, bus moral superiority guy. You aren’t any better than the rest of us. Someone eating a snack on the bus is not hurting you in any way, shape or form.

      6. Can we please not get in an internet fistfight over a hypothetical scenario?

      7. We’re just teasing each other. I bet Geoff doesn’t eat fried chicken on the bus, and he just wants to be left alone on the bus, same here.

      8. MHD,

        There’s nothing hypothetical about the scenario – it (and worse) happens daily. You folks who ride pretty much exclusively during the daytime commutes with occasional evening sojourns to and from activities really don’t have any idea how bad it gets on a daily basis, and to what extent.

        Back to the original topic of the article – this “simple stuff” isn’t really all that “simple”. We’re talking about some pretty radical (for Seattle) alterations in expectations of riding etiquette, requiring not just social pressure and public education campaigns – but enforcement of a code of conduct.

        We may move (or attempt to move) in that direction when the RFA ends at the end of September and suddenly folks are expected (at least on paper) to pay their bus fares as they enter regardless of where in the County they board.

        We shall see.

        Meanwhile, the d.p.’s of Seattle will go right on riding without a helmet, “jaywalking with impugnity” and believing that part of the PROBLEM with transit (and Seattle in general) is a “slavish obsession” with “the rules”.

        I guess it’s up to the rest of us to either ignore, reinforce (with positive affirmation) or discourage (through negative feedback) the standard (or lack of same) the d.p. contingent (many of whom use buses as hotel rooms and toilets all night long) insists on promoting.

      9. As usual, living your entire life in the myopic hovel that is Seattle has warped your brain.

        Jaywalking is way of life in pedestrian cities that work.
        Utility cycling (street clothes, no headgear required) is a way of life in cycling cities that work.

        And if you think I’m okay in any way with fare evasion and and the anything-goes attitude aboard Seattle transit, you haven’t figured me out at all. (In fact, I called out the hypocrisy of a driver whose bus smelled like a dead guy and looked like it hadn’t been wiped down in decades worrying about my well-contained food.)

        Unfortunately, drivers that still won’t let people off the back, planners that encourage an entitled view of the bus as a personal limo (thanks to meandering, one-seat routes), vehicle designers who can’t design for standing/passing room to save their lives, and politicians who incentivize cash payment and cheat-enabling paper transfers around own a lot of the blame for Seattle passengers’ poor transit-riding habits.

        I’m wasting my breath/fingers. You are doomed to drag your city down with you.

      10. Jaywalking is way of life in pedestrian cities that work

        That’s the contrapositive to reality. Tokyo is a city that “works” (very much so) wholly without jay-walking, fare-evasion, blah, blah,blah.

      11. Never been to Tokyo, but I do know that it’s packed full of tiny streets. Are you saying that pedestrians wait at signalized crossing at each of these?

        Meanwhile, much has been written about the way that post-WWII large-scale Tokyo infrastructure — the wide boulevards, the labyrinth of roadway flyovers — was built to be surprisingly hostile to pedestrian movements (surprisingly, given that walking+transit remains the primary mode of travel in the city).

      12. As usual, living your entire life in the myopic hovel that is Seattle has warped your brain.”

        Well, good thing you’ve sworn off ad hominem attacks.

        FYI, I’ve lived in Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Spokane, Orlando and Washington D.C.

        Given your low opinion of Seattle – perhaps you could improve the environs in one small way by moving somewhere else? I’m sure there are communities around the nation (and world) that would welcome you with open arms.

        Can’t for the life of me think of one, but I’m sure they’re out there.

      13. I’ve lived in Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Spokane, Orlando and Washington D.C.

        Forgive me, but you obviously learned nothing.

    2. Geoff, there is another point of view. Exactly, because it is a city, because there is high density – because we are so close to so many other people:

      * we should be very considerate of other people
      * we should try to not cause harm to anybody else whenever possible
      * we should actively work to ensure that whoever causes harm stops doing so – because it will come and hurt all of us

      So the situation is the same (lots of people in little space) and there are 2 solutions:
      * try to be civilized
      * say that “stuff happens” and let all chaos break loose

      Seattle is not yet very civilized and many people lack the culture which is why it seems odd to you that people are fighting FOR the rules.

      A great city, however, does not happen by letting everyone do “stuff” and hurt others, but by ensuring that everyone lives in *harmony*! Just think about that – a great city is not chaos – quite the opposite – it is ORDER.

      If you want freedom go into the mountains. If you want density and freedom – go to a commune.

Comments are closed.