Public transport is a necessity and for the most part it has served me well. It gets me to uni, it brings me home, and on the off chance that I go out (yay for socialising!) it takes me to where I need to go. But as much as I appreciate public transport it does not lend itself kindly to normal behaviour from its commuters resulting in a number of unforgivable sins being committed. While it’s not quite acceptable to dispose of those who annoy you, it is perfectly fine to list their sins in a list for your enjoyment.

So sit back, relax, and welcome to public transport etiquette 101.

The Aisle-Blockers

Now, it is perfectly okay to politely ask other passengers to move out of the way so you can nab the all-important unoccupied seat next to them. Let’s say you’ve spotted a free seat, it’s in the middle of a three-seater but you’re up for the challenge. You say “excuse me” to the passenger occupying the aisle seat who just sort of looks up at you in a baffled sort of expression. This is the aisle-blocker.

After an awkward couple of seconds the aisle-blocker finally shrugs letting you believe that you’ve won the battle. Your heart starts pounding in excitement at the thought of a seat but the aisle-blocker makes no attempt to move. Instead they ever so slightly incline their knees giving you approximately 10 centimetres max to try and squeeze across. Yes you heard me, 10 measly centimetres and I have a big butt so that really does not bode well.

As I practically fall into the aisle-blocker’s lap as I squeeze across I give no apologies, none whatsoever. There is no possible justification they could offer that would justify them not getting off their bony ass. I’ve come to the conclusion that aisle-blockers must be some sort of demon, I mean anyone that denies an access to an empty seat is plain evil. Avoid if you can, challenge if you must.

The Pole-Leaners

The pole-leaners are a peculiar breed of commuter. They don’t quite understand that the poles on public transport were installed for multiple people to grab on to and not just for them to lean on or hug. You’ll encounter them not during quiet periods but during peak hour when their backs and butts are taking up valuable grabbing space.

Be warned pole-leaners of Australia, by all rights you definitely should not be mad at me when I grab onto your arm, shoulder, neck, whatever, for support. It’s hard to stand on trains for a klutz like me and you just make it even harder for the rest of us by treating the pole as your significant other. You’ve been warned.

The Pungent Food Eaters

The pungent food eaters are deceptively dangerous, looking innocent enough until they unleash a tidal wave of pungent food resulting in alarming levels of toxicity in the air. And just when you thought couldn’t get worse; these commuters will eat their food glaringly slow just so that smell lingers in the air for that bit longer while you internally groan the whole train ride away because there is literally no escaping the smell.

The Pitbull Aficionados

These commuters are a passionate bunch and enter the train or bus with the sole mission of sharing their Pitbull love with the world. You think the train carriage is empty? No think again because the dulcet tones of Pitbull will suddenly start playing at a distressing volume. Initiating contact with these commuters is risky as that could potentially result in the volume of Pitbull being increased. Your only options are to either submit and let Pitbull slowly take your sanity away, or to pray to god that you’ll survive this communal nightmare.

The Sniffle-Demons From Hell

If you haven’t already been tainted from the Pitbull aficionados, you’re sure to come across the sniffle-demons from Hell. These ones are easy to spot, they’ll be the ones who are constantly sniffing and for some reason did not think to take a single tissue with them. BAM there’s one sneeze and oh, no covering of the mouth? Okay… BAM there’s another sneeze and you swear that some drops of nose fluid landed on you. If you’re not already deathly ill they’ll launch into a coughing fit you for an extra hit of added germs. No amount of eye daggers will penetrate the sniffle-demon as they literally do not give any fucks because you’ve been sick and you know how terrible it is and how over everything and everyone you are. No advice can be given because you, my friend, are already screwed.


Look at the end of the day public transport is exactly that is public and the public can do whatever the hell they want to do on it. Just be mindful of others travelling with you and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt when deciding whether or not to put you on my list of undesirables.


By Isha Bassi