Why Public Transport Etiquette Should Be An Election Issue
The election is fast upon us, and I am yet to hear any politicians talking about the one issue that really matters – public transport etiquette.
Living in a thriving metropolis, public transport is a necessary and occasionally traumatic part of life for many people. There are huge benefits to PT: it’s environmentally friendly, it’s cost effective, you can read a book while you travel (which is somewhat frowned upon if you’re driving a car), you can transport large numbers of people -- sometimes even at a decent pace.
The downside of course is being exposed to some of the dregs of society. I’ve been shoved, spat at and vomited on, so I feel like I have the practical experience to bring these subjects to the candidates with some authority.
The biggest bugbear people have on public transport, without a doubt, is loud noises. Specifically, other travellers listening to their music so loudly you can hear it despite their earphones being in.
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Even worse are those loathsome people who decided that, because they made a Spotify playlist, they are now a DJ, so they forego earphones altogether and force their poor music selection on all within earshot. If everyone appreciated Taylor Swift as much as I do, this wouldn’t be an issue; unfortunately not all commuters are blessed with my amazing taste.
In my opinion some of the worst offenders are the hot food transporters. I feel that it’s an unnecessary cruelty to bring delicious-smelling food on a packed evening train full of hungry, exhausted commuters. I’m mildly hangry at the best of times, and I don’t appreciate the people who have the foresight to buy food ahead of time rubbing my nose in it.
Next time it happens I swear I’m going to file my travel card into a shiv, stab them in the spine to immobilise them and then make them watch as I eat their pizza.
Look, violence isn’t always the answer, but in some situations it’s definitely warranted.
I wouldn’t even have to worry about witnesses since it’s nearly impossible to get people to look up from their smartphones these days. The perfect crime.
If there’s one thing humans on PT seem particularly good at, it is excreting a large array of bodily fluids. There’s nothing like thinking you won the lottery when you find a seat on a packed tram in the middle of summer, only to realise that the only reason no-one is sitting there is because it is doused in sweat (or… well, something).
Is there anyone who hasn’t been on a chockers train after the football when, suddenly, in a beautifully synchronised dance, the whole carriage of commuters starts to move as one in an attempt to avoid the fluid pool of vomit that was ejected from some inebriated patron?
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By far the most traumatic thing that ever happened to me on PT didn’t involve bodily fluids or loud noises. One day, I was in an empty train carriage, keeping to myself and reading a book (as was the fashion at the time) when a fellow commuter entered and sat directly next to me.
I repeat: he sat directly next to me on an entirely empty carriage.
This situation was more stressful than trying to tap on at peak hour, having to slam your transport card against the reader 17 times while a disgruntled line forms behind you. When I tell people this story they are always aghast that such a faux-pas of mass transit etiquette should ever occur. It is really taking lack of spatial awareness to the extreme.
As Melbourne sprawls further outwards, there will be more people using public transport than ever before, so it’s time for us make real changes to the system in this country. There needs to be a total ban on all hot foods while travelling, free deodorant for all commuters, harsh penalties for infringing another's personal space and -- most importantly of all -- Taylor Swift piped loudly enough into the space to drown out all personal listening devices.
I don’t know what party is ready to act decisively on these pressing issues, but I know I’ll vote for them when they do.