Your fellow commuters don’t want to
hear your cell phone conversation
Luz Lazo June 24
They laugh. They scream. “You’re kidding me!”
The conversation goes
something like that or maybe that’s how you remember it after the long Metro or
bus ride next to a chatty person on the phone.
routinely use our smartphones to tweet, text or check Facebook while on public
transit, when it comes to phone calls there’s a debate over whether doing so on
the bus or train is acceptable.
talking on the phone –for anything more than a brief conversation– while using
public transit is the biggest commuting sin. Okay, officially they call it
inconsiderate and annoying, not a sin. But 50 percent of transit users think
others’ cell phone conversations are the most annoying habit on public
transportation, according to a new survey by Washington-based KRC
The poll of
1,000 Americans found commuters also are annoyed by people who don’t
offer their seat to people with disabilities, the elderly or pregnant women,
and the messy eater who leaves crumbs behind, and the passenger who gets too
comfortable and uses the spare seat for their luggage.
If I may,
I’d like to add to the list a few annoying habits that we hear about
often in our Metro system: Leftscalators – the people who stand on the left
side of the escalator as you are hustling down to the platform; the passengers
who won’t move to the middle of the car when people are trying to board; the
riders who don’t let disembarking passengers off the bus or train before they
try to board.
[Which driver do people hate most?]
agencies know that some of these habits can ruin a passenger’s experience.
In response, some have implemented policies to deter habits such as
eating and drinking aboard buses and trains. They also have run campaigns to
encourage common courtesy toward fellow commuters and regularly offer tips for
how to keep the peace on the commute, including keeping quiet while on board.
Transit Administration, which runs the MARC commuter rail service from Maryland
to the District, says it believes “courtesy is contagious” but people sometimes
forget to think about the comfort of others. So, in an advisory the agency
urged cell phone users to “Please keep calls brief, limited in number and
made quietly so as not to disturb fellow commuters who are trying to read or
The MTA also
discourages riders from taking an additional seat to place your purse or
luggage. “Passengers boarding should not have to ask for items to be
removed from a seat so they may sit,” the agency tells its customers.
agencies, including Metro, encourage riders to offer their seats to passengers
with disabilities, elderly and pregnant women. It also designates priority
seating for such riders. (In case you didn’t know Metro policy requires riders
to give up their seat to someone who needs it.)
priority seats in Metro’s trains and buses are meant for people with
disabilities and for senior citizens,” Metro said in a pamphlet that was part
of a campaign a few years ago to remind riders about the priority seating
policy. “If you’re sitting in one and someone needs it more than you,
obey the signs and give it to them. It’s the right thing to do. And it’s
conversations probably aren’t as big of an issue on our Metro system as other
subways since it’s nearly impossible to get a connection underground and
service in stations can be spotty and inconsistent. You might occasionally spot
someone snacking on the train, but it’s usually students — or tourists
who aren’t familiar with Metro’s policy that strictly prohibits eating and
drinking on Metro trains and buses and in stations. And Metro advertising
reminds riders of those rules.
“This is not
a diner,” says a poster in some stations showing an image of a Metro train made
to look like a 1950’s-style diner. “Please don’t treat it like one. Be
considerate of others by not eating or drinking on Metro.”
another one to the list: the passenger who showered in perfume and cologne.
many passengers do not consider is the effect of perfumes and colognes in an
enclosed environment such as a rail car,” the agency said. “Passengers are
asked to be considerate of those with allergies by not using any aromatic
sprays while riding and to use perfumes and colognes in moderation.”
So, now you
know things that are sure to irritate your fellow commuters. Any
others we should add? Respectfully list them in the comments, please.