this is me now

December 10, 2007

Bus Etiquette, 101

Filed under: buses,college,travel — by heatherdc @ 12:59 pm

There is a long list of things to do and to avoid while riding public transportation. Riding on a bus, packed with people, early in the morning is not exactly the perfect way to start your day. However, it beats using gas and having to walk from the “Commuter Lot” out by the football stadium.

The past year and a half of frequently using the bus service from our apartment complex to downtown or just to campus, we have accumulated some pretty interesting stories. Anything can happen, and trust me…it does! Aside from the late night adventures on the weekends, most people follow the standard bus procedure: get on, sit/stand, and ride quietly to your destination.

But of course, as with anything, there are those people who like to shake things up a little bit. These include, but are definitely not limited to, the following “people”:

1) The Cell-Phoner You think you are talking quietly, and that nobody around you is listening. You’re wrong. Since you are (usually) the only person talking, everybody is listening. You’re not quiet and you’re not discrete. Plus, since we can only hear one side of the conversation, you seem a little crazy sometimes.

2) The Multiple-Seat Taker I admit: when the bus isn’t full, I use the seat next to me to place my “stuff”. However, when the bus is packed, and there is a line of people still getting on…Move Your Stuff! This is just rude. Nobody likes to stand, and some people can’t reach that over-head bar. Even if you can, it really doesn’t help that much. Especially not with some of the crazy bus-drivers loose on these streets.

3) The Stinker This one is self-explanatory. There will always be those people who just don’t smell good. They may not be aware of this, but whew…body odor is pretty potent. There are preventative measures that can be taken though! Please look into this before riding public transportation. You will be doing us all a favor. And yourself, because it’s not fun to be the Stinker. You don’t want to be “the stinker”.

4) The Shopper Around here, the buses are frequently used by students traveling from campus/downtown to Wal-Mart, Target, Wegmans, etc. I think it’s great that we have a bus service that allows students to do this! With so many students crammed into a small space, it is somewhat of a nuisance to have a car due to limited parking. So kudos to you taking the bus, saving gas money, not polluting, etc. One little tip though; remember that you have to get back on that bus, with all of your purchases! If you have to load them onto the bus in multiple trips, you’ve probably exceeded a limit. Then you get to ride the whole way back to campus surrounded by plastic bags, and people who might be slightly annoyed that you are taking up the space equivalent of about 5 people. Just a heads up.

And now, due to my bus experience this morning, I have a special addition to this list of things NOT to do…..

5) The Gum-Chewing Over-the-Shoulder-Reader

As I am riding to campus in my seat, I am reading an article in the newspaper I had just picked up at the bus stop. The bus is packed so there are people standing in the aisle next to me, and apparently the space behind my seat. A few minutes into the ride, I hear a constant “smacking” of gum. By smacking, I mean loud, open-mouthed chewing of the gum. You know, the kind of chewing that everybody around you can hear. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Gross. Gross. Gross.

Luckily for me, the gum-chewer is standing right behind me. And leaning down towards me, reading over my shoulder! Chomp-chompin’ right in my ear as he reads the paper from behind me.

I’m not a fan of the reading-over-the-shoulder tactic. Let alone when it is somebody I don’t know, and they are chewing gum in my ear. So to bring a stop to this nonsense, I looked up. Not enough to catch the gum-chewer’s eye, just enough to notify him that I’m aware of his presence. I gave him “the look”. Ugh. I put my newspaper away, and spent the remainder of the ride to campus listening to his chomping.

Future advice to all who use public transportation; Be courteous to the riders around you. Try to avoid all of the above, and we will all be grateful!

Larisa has also documented some interesting bus stories. Check it out. Also, feel free to add to this list with your stories, because I know there are many floating around out there!



  1. I hope we don’t top the gum chewer and the power trip bus driver this year…ehhhh. but I have met a crackhead (really, he was) and witnessed some serious mack-fests on the CATA buses…fabulous ehhh not so much!

    Comment by L B — December 10, 2007 @ 7:24 pm |Reply

  2. while i am not an avid rider of public transportation, i’ve got a few stories from the old yellow bus days. I was in my first fight on the bus ride home in 5th or 6th grade. It was totally justified, and i totally won. i also witnessed several vehicular accidents, a dumb ass who ran in front of the bus (he was fine, just knocked the wind out of him), a whole hell of a lot of mooning (with the occasional extra bit of nudity), but the most disturbing

    Comment by Peter (your boyfriend) — December 17, 2007 @ 12:19 am |Reply

  3. … was this couple that rode the same bus as me in middle-school. You know that couple that is comprised of the two ugliest people (and i mean that both in physical and personality), well this couple beat all other ugly couples… and one fateful and horrible day the whole of the back of the bus had ti witness… you know what, i can’t… lets just forget it

    Comment by Peter (your boyfriend) — December 17, 2007 @ 12:22 am |Reply

  4. In Australia we have a 6th category…

    6. The dickhead who decides to pay with a 20 dollar note.

    Imagine a packed early morning bus turning up late, then continuing to be late due to the bus stopping every 50 metres to pick up somebody who doesnt have a pre paid bus tickets, and slows everyone else down by paying in riduculous amounts of cash. And our government cant work out why our buses are so slow and unreliable… fuck sake

    Comment by adam — July 9, 2008 @ 3:57 pm |Reply

  5. ooops, and we have a 7th…

    7. Lazy uni students – this ones a bit more complex

    Uni students have government assistance in the form of free cost bus cards that were designed to subsidise transport costs… However, this has made them very lazy; they’ll catch a bus for a 1/4 mile trip from the uni to the shopping centre just because its free.

    The problem with this is that people like me who would have payed for a trip to the end of the line have their spots taken by these students. Doesnt sound that bad – but imagine getting of an 8 hour shift of work, only to find your bus home is too full to let you on because its full of students who just want a lift up the road….

    God i hate sydney buses. haha im just ranting now, thanks for providing a place for it

    Comment by adam — July 9, 2008 @ 4:03 pm |Reply

  6. favorited this one, brother

    Comment by AlgoliglalpmaF — September 22, 2008 @ 2:36 pm |Reply

  7. this is so true …
    may be i wanna blog about it now …
    nice article !!!

    Comment by subcorpus — October 11, 2010 @ 12:12 am |Reply

  8. […] bus etiquette 101 – guide to bus users share lillby:EmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Leave a comment […]

    Pingback by lillby’s alphabet – the letter b « lillby's wonderful life — January 10, 2012 @ 3:05 am |Reply

  9. Sometimes passengers usually men angry about not having cars stick their feet out and trip others on the city bus. Or the bus driver stops the bus to answer a person undecided about abroading the bus’ question. Every week poor black and Hispanic moms bring 3, 4, or 5 kids on the bus.

    Comment by Maria — October 18, 2012 @ 9:58 pm |Reply

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