Twice in the last two weeks, I’ve been a passenger on buses that passed up other passengers while there was still room in the back of the bus. Two weeks ago, I got on a bus after the driver was telling other riders it was too full, because I saw open space in the middle of the front half of the bus, and pushed my way back there. Especially in horrible November and December weather, things like this shouldn’t ever happen. And the reason they do happen is oblivious or rude standing habits. To be considerate when you’re standing, all you need to do is follow three simple rules. Please pass this post along to everyone you know who rides well-used routes, so more people can get on without someone making a scene.
1. Move Back!
Really. Move back. Yes, all the way back. Yes, further back than that. This is the most important rule. And it’s that simple.
There is not a spike that descends from the very back of the bus to impale you if you stand all the way back. I often see otherwise jam-packed buses with absolutely no one standing to the back of the rear steps. Please stand back there. You can still reach the door easily, you have a nice view past other standees in low-floor buses (as in the photo above), there is plenty of headroom unless you’re well over six feet, and you’re considerately making room for others. Three to four people can comfortably stand behind the rear door, and you can jam six or seven in when it’s extremely crowded.
Other places where people are very reluctant to move back are at the hinge and, bizarrely, at the front door. Yes, you need to move past the hinge if there is room in the back half of the bus. And if you are that person who insists on standing at the front door and forcing everyone else to dance around you just to get on, then you deserve all the bumps and bruises you get. You will still be able to get off the bus just fine if you move further back.
2. Pay Attention.
Frequently, standees will tune out the world around them as soon as they’ve settled into a position, not noticing that people behind them have considerately moved back because more people want to get on. When the bus stops, look around you. Look both backward, to see if you have more room to move back, and forward, to see if more people are trying to get on.
People sitting in full buses should also pay attention, because they should be ready to give up their seats to seniors or persons with disabilities who may have a hard time standing in a moving bus for the length of the trip. Getting totally lost in your reading, music, or game is fun, but rude to those around you.
3. Step Out.
If you are standing near the doors and passengers are trying to get off, then get off the bus, and step back on when people finish exiting. People can exit much faster when the aisle is clear, saving everyone time. You will have time to get back on. Drivers will wait until they see no movement at the back door to close it, and they can tell the difference between existing passengers getting back on after having stepped aside and new passengers trying to evade payment.
If all standees followed these three simple rules, we’d have considerably fewer pass-ups, and buses would move faster as well. Please be considerate to your fellow passengers and stand the right way. Those waiting in the cold and rain at bus stops thank you sincerely.