A complicated look at uncomplicated topics to ameliorate your day.
Part of the joy of living in the ‘World’s Most Livable City’ is the rather good public transport facilities we enjoy. Sure, they’re not run with German efficiency but at least the notion of safety isn’t exactly an optional extra either…
As with all good things, there are always a few rules to help us all get along in relative harmony. Public Transport is just that. It is public. In short, this means you share your chosen vehicle of transportation (train, bus or tram) with other members of the public, most often strangers. You would like to think this notion would automatically dictate that certain rules of engagement or etiquette come into play, however it seems most days that some users may have forgotten, so here are the essentials in a tad more detail.
The Golden Rule of Public Transport. Wear Deodorant.
We’ve all been there. You’re sitting down quietly on the tram, minding your own business when a person stands next to you, and reaches up to hold on to the bar. Next thing you know your eyeballs roll back into your head, you’re silently gagging and wondering how long you can pinch your nose and breathe through your jumper whilst looking for escape routes from your current seat.
If Hell had a fragrance, it would be whatever is emitting from their armpits.
Why helloooo, Eau de Hades. Said no one ever.
Personal Conversations on Mobile phones
Ah the convenience of modern technology. We can now talk to whomever we want, wherever we want, whenever we want. This is fabulous for you, but not for the 56 other people sharing your bus. We’re not all that interested in how well little Ruby is doing in Grade 2, or how many fish Jono caught on the weekend up at Eildon or how quickly Bill from Accounts came last night after you accidentally went back to his place.
Astonishingly, we do not care.
If you must answer your phone, keep it brief and inform the person you’re speaking with that you’re currently on public transport and can’t chat for long, answer their question and hang up. Then promptly explain exactly what Bill did or didn’t do in the privacy of a text message.
Use only one seat
If you’ve paid for one fare, then you are entitled to one seat.
If it’s going to hurt your shopping bags feelings to be placed on the floor, then buy them a fare too. Otherwise, move over please.
Move Down & Hold On
If you’ve ever caught public transport in Japan, then you’ll be familiar with what happens if you don’t move down however, for most Melbournians this seems to be a moot point. They see a pole they want to hold on to, right next to the door, and they just stand there.
Let’s be clear here, the 3.4 seconds it has taken you to get on the tram and to said pole, is not long enough for you to develop an in-depth relationship with that pole, therefore you can easily move down to the next one.
Once you’ve found a pole or hand support far from the doorways of the vehicle, it is now time to hold on. Surprisingly enough, public transport is not an extreme sport and your fellow travelers do not appreciate when you attempt to stand/balance without holding on & instead find yourself flying three seats southwards onto someone’s lap.
If you wish to jump around like the Flying Tomato, please take the first exit to Mt Buller & leave your fellow travelers in peace & relative safety.
Don’t read a broadsheet newspaper
It’s wonderful you’re an intellectual. Well done. But we don’t need to see you reading a broadsheet newspaper to figure this out; your poor fashion sense, 60s hairdo and archaic glasses gave that one away.
Pin your elbows in and keep the geek paper for the breakfast table or the lunchroom of your accounting firm.
Turn your music down
Ah, another modern miracle of technology, the portable music device.
Used for: Blocking out the stress of the day and noise of the other travelers and just dissolving into some smooth tunes to unwind as you head home. Or providing a smile and a quiet giggle as you catch up on podcasts of your favourite radio show or TED talk.
Not used for: Staging a Metallica concert so loud that the people in the next train carriage can hear it. Never mind your mother being mad at you for ruining your hearing before age 20, it’s the bloke sitting next to you with the escalating blood pressure and developing facial sweat beads that you’d be wise to move away from swiftly.
Don’t eat tuna or smelly foods
As our vehicles of transportation all come with air-conditioning these days, the ability to open a window in times of nasal distress has sadly been taken away.
This means smelly foods such as cans of tuna, sushi, salmon and cooked mushrooms are a no-go zone. Eau de Hades is bad enough without complicating the aroma with Eau de Fishy. Please, keep it in the tin/box/bag until you get to a space with ventilation!
Let people get off before you get on
Many Greek moons ago, Archimedes discovered the law of displacement and danced around in the nuddy shouting ‘Eureka!’ There is no doubting he was an exceptionally clever bloke, because the theory still applies today, particularly to the space occupied inside a vehicle of public transportation.
The basic of idea of the theory is: what goes in, will displace what is in and push it out.
In the instance of public transport, pushing what is in out must occur through the designated doorways of each vehicle (windows are not advisable, nor commonly utilized). With this in mind, stand aside and wait for disembarking passengers to leave the vehicle before you attempt to board. As the Archimedes principle explains, you going in will displace them however you gotta let them get out of the bloody tram/train/bus before you can get all Greek and theoretical and get in. So just cool your feta jets and give them a chance to get out of your way before stampeding in to your pole of choice. The tram/train/bus won’t leave without you!
School kids this is not a classroom
Yes we were all once the youth of today. Or to be more precise, the youth of yesterday. A time in our lives when the words public transport meant ‘boys/girls in uniform’ from other schools, the thrill of a moving vehicle and that precious 45 minutes in between being controlled by teachers at school and being bossed around by our parents at home.
We understand. However, because we are no longer living through this exhilarating time in our lives, we are no longer interested in the screeching, screaming, clapping, running up and down carriages, the ‘OMG HE DIDN’T’s, the wolf whistling, the pranks, the pushing and shoving, the yelling obscenities, the throwing paper and basically spending our train/tram/bus ride living through our very own version of Geordie Shore on a daily basis.
This isn’t the corridor at school or the playground, for the sake of our sanity, please shut up. We’re not mortal enough to cope with this.
Bike riders; leave your bike at the station
You’re environmentally conscious and a fitness freak! Congratulations! Now, do you think you might be able to leave your bike at the designated ‘bike lockers’ at the station instead of carting it into work on the train? We already guessed you’re a bike rider, the lycra bodysuit at 7:13am in the morning kind of gave it away, so parading the bike around, taking peoples ankles out with the pedals and using up precious space is superfluous and to be honest, a dick move.
Do not make eye contact with the resident nuffie
It wouldn’t be a public transport experience without at least one nuffie on the tram/bus/train. They’ll be carrying a brown paper bag, wearing Eau de Hades and be rocking a hairstyle similar to Young Einstein, on a good day.
They will also be trying to engage in conversation with whoever looks at them, or be sitting in a stairwell banging their head on a pole/door, or walking up and down the vehicle yelling obscenities at imaginary people.
As amusing as these antics are, and as much as you want to keep watching, YOU MUST NOT make eye contact with the nuffie. This will only encourage them to keep going, or to come and talk to you or to yell obscenities and abuse in your general direction. And quite frankly, if it’s you up against a bloke who hasn’t showered since Rudd was PM (the first time) & has just head butted the pole 5 times, then there’s nothing you can say or do that is going to trump what he is willing to do. Unless of course, it is wearing deodorant.