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February 9, 2010

Public Transit Etiquette Refresher Course

*Sigh* I can’t believe I have to write this, Toronto. I can’t believe that after we’ve all been using the TTC for so many years, we’re still having to sit down and talk about what you should and shouldn’t be doing on public transit. I can’t believe there are still so many ill-mannered miscreants in this city that I have to write this article! Well, here we go…

DO NOT … Put your stuff on the seat next to you if the bus/subway is full. If half the seats are empty and you want to put your bag on one, you may do so freely. However, if people are stadning because your purse/shopping bag/briefcase is taking up a seat, you need to move your stuff (whatever it may be) onto the floor, thus freeing up a seat for another weary traveler. What’s that? Your bag is too good for the floor? Then that’s what your lap is for.

DO NOT … Charge the doors the moment the bus/subway stops. The people on the bus/subway need to get off B-E-F-O-R-E you get on. You won’t score any extra points for knocking over that little old lady with the bundle buggy, so you just wait your turn, tiger!

DO … Offer your seat to the elderly, infirm or pregnant. I’m not even going to get into detail here, this should be a no-brainer, unless you were raised in a barn. (People who were raised in barns have no business on the subway/bus anyway – get off and walk, animals!)

DO NOT … Block up the aisle with your stroller, toddler, and stroller/toddler accessories. Ok, we get it, you have a child with you, and that’s fantastic. I love kids, honest. I don’t love them stuck in the middle of the aisle (on the bus, they’re usually RIGHT behind the driver, where everyone needs to pass), running up and down the aisle, bumping into people who are trying to sleep, read or whatever. It’s also not great when you don’t put on the stroller brake, so that every time the bus moves or bumps, your stroller and child go careening into other passengers.

DO … Mind your vocabulary. You may have freedom of speech, but it’s also a public place – I paid just as much (if not more, since I pay regular fare, as opposed to student or senior fare) as you did, and while I’m certainly no prdue, I didn’t pay to hear your extremely profane conversation. Maybe you’re just a moron who doesn’t have any other words to use, and I’m sorry for that, but it’s not my problem. Shut your mouth and buy a thesaurus. This is especially true when riding near small kids, the elderly, and everyone who is smarter than you which, given your demonstrated intellect, is everyone.

DO … Bathe and wear deodorant. This too should be a no-brainer, but just in case: have a shower or bath regularly. Wear deodorant. Keep colognes and perfumes subtle. I know it gets hot on the TTC sometimes, especially in the summer, and sometimes sweatiness is unavoidable. (This is wear deodorant/antiperspirant is your friend!) I get the problem. What I don’t get is why I can smell you from 10 seats over.

DO … Be courteous to your driver. A simple “good morning” or “hello” is all it takes. Don’t forget the “thank you” as you get off, too. I don’t care that you paid your fare and you have every right to be there – who are you to make the driver feel invisible and unappreciated. It doesn’t matter what your Mommy told you – you’re not THAT special. Be a nice person and say “thank you.” After all, the dirver delivered you in one piece and didn’t miss your stop, right?

Ok people, that should wrap it up. Did I miss anything? Just please, be conscious of those around you. We’re all tired, we all want to go home (or get to work on time) and we’re in this together. Treat your fellow riders the way you would like to be treated, and remember that it’s a service for everyone – that’s right, it’s not all about YOU.

Happy riding!

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