Passengers sat on public transport

Travelling can be a stressful experience – doubly so when you’re sharing your transport with multiple strangers. Over time, cultures develop their own form of travel etiquette. Sadly, not everyone seems to have got the memo, and a rogue passenger can make a stressful journey that much more trying. So we’ve come up with a comprehensive list of the different kinds of passenger you’ll encounter, and the best ways to deal with them. Of course, if we’ve missed any, feel free to let us know in the comments!

The spreader

Otherwise known as ‘man-spreading’, the passenger will – either deliberately or not – put as much distance between their knees as possible, thus crowding in whichever unlucky soul happens to be sat next to them. It’s not just men that are guilty of over-spreading their boundaries, but it does seem to be a 

When you’re packed into a seat on busy public transport, any incursion on your limited space can feel like a personal attack but remember, often people just don’t realise they’re taking up more space than they’re entitled to. Next time you witness someone extending a limb beyond their own boundaries, try asking them to give you a little space. You’d be surprised how many people respond with courtesy when asked nicely, and it’s a far better option than getting into a passive-aggressive battle for that little bit extra legroom.

Manspreading passenger on public transport

The ‘occasional bather’

One of the greatest things about public transport is the diverse variety of people you meet. While this brings endless opportunity to meet fascinating individuals, it also runs the risk of coming into contact with people with a less than satisfactory approach to personal hygiene.

If you’re unlucky enough to be sat next to one of these people, you’ll likely spend your journey practising the art of breathing only through your mouth, praying they’ll disembark before your lungs collapse and you’re forced to inhale their noisome scent.

Oftentimes, it’s not the passenger themselves but the food they’ve decided to consume in-transit that causes a problem. While most people understand it’s bad etiquette to stuff your face in a confined shared space, it seems some just can’t help themselves.

There’s not much you can do about malodorous co-commuters but, if you’re really desperate, consider bringing a nasal inhaler with you. It won’t totally combat the foul-smelling co-passenger, but it can go some way to offsetting the unpleasant feeling of being sat next to a human dumpster.

Crowded bus at sunset silhouettes

Photo by Ashley Gerlach on Unsplash

The sharer

Thanks to the proliferation of the smartphone, people can conduct conversations in public without ever making a sound. Most journeys today consist of people staring at their tiny screen, utterly absorbed in their personal bubble.

But there are those who don’t want to stay in their own bubble – in fact, they feel like their personal lives are so interesting, everyone else in the surrounding area should share in it. Even when their conversation is about not much of anything, these people are determined to let everyone in on the details.

The only way to deal with these people is to fight fire with fire. Whip out your phone, pretend to make a call and proceed to complain about the blabbering loudmouth you’ve been forced to share space with. They might take the hint and end the call but beware – talk too loudly and you run the risk of becoming the very thing you detest.

Passengers on their smartphones

The seat hoarder

You know the type. They’re usually accompanied by twenty bags of shopping or the entire contents of their home in various containers. But it doesn’t matter if they had one bag or twenty, they would still believe that the volume of their positions entitled them to additional seating.

The seat hoarder will typically have a permanent scowl attached to their face, eyes glued to their phone to avoid catching the disapproving gaze of their fellow passengers.

It’s difficult to say how best to deal with seat-hoarders. The worst offenders are so wrapped up in their entitlement, any effort to procure your own space would probably be futile. Instead, try to sit as close as possible to them and, if you have a pen and paper handy, slip a note into their shopping bags. The note doesn’t have to be mean or threatening, but perhaps a gentle reminder that they’re not the only one in need of a seat on transport. You never know, perhaps all they need is a nudge in the right direction.

Passenger hoarding seats on public transport with bags

The human boombox

So, you’re sat there, just enjoying your journey. Perhaps you’re watching a film, or browsing the internet quietly minding your own business. Then you hear them. Somewhere, the sound of crashing percussion, violent screaming, pounding bass, or a combination of all three, rattles around the carriage, and it’s coming closer.

When they sit down, you see it is not actually some slack-jawed oaf playing their music through the speaker on their phone (although these people deserve to be dragged behind the bus). Instead, it’s someone playing music through earphones at what must sound to them like an explosion in a fireworks factory. Still, it’s a remarkable testament to the sheer durability of the human eardrum.

Dealing with a human boombox can be tricky. For one, they’ll be completely oblivious to any audible attempt to engage with them. Instead, try signing to them to remove their earphones. When they do, mouth words to convince them they’ve given themselves permanent hearing damage.

Man optimising journey looking down aisle of plane

Of course, the passengers detailed here are exceptions to the norm; most people just want to ride their transport without upsetting their fellow passengers. But there are endless varieties of twerps dedicated to upsetting your journey; so who have we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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