December 2009


Annoying Public Transport Habits

As a frequent rider of public transportation, I have two complaints—call them observations—about people and mass transit.

First, why is it that people waiting to get on buses and trains feel compelled to stand directly in front of the door? Do they really think that standing there will let them get on first or will it slow-down the speed of the people getting off? I hate to put this kind of spin on it, but there are times that I will run into people with perhaps greater force than I need to precisely because they’re standing right in the middle of the exit from the train or bus. I know that’s really asshole-ish of me, but it is a form of passive aggressive anger release that I hope (but I know doesn’t) educate some moron about where to stand.

Secondly, the train ride from Weimar to Jena is, on the express version, officially 18 minutes long. People stand up and queue to get off the train early—sometimes as early as five minutes before the train is going to arrive in Jena. I’ve watched some people get on the train, take off their coats, hang up their coats, and then sit down, only to stand up a minute or two later to reverse the process. I guess this isn’t really a complaint, but more an awed observation. If it’s that important to you to get off the train first, why bother sitting down in the first place?

I actually discussed this with a colleague who was on the train with me this morning—and no sooner did we get off than a woman in front of us, who was walking at a normal speed, decided to stop. Complete total stop in front of a mass of people who were getting off a train and moving toward the exit from the platform.

Luckily we were able to weave around her—but had the crowd been more dense, she would have been knocked onto her face, and it would have been her own damned fault.

9 comments to Annoying Public Transport Habits

  • mateo

    I know all about those passive-aggressive educational strategies. You’re right, though, they never seem to work!

  • You don’t have to be passive about it.

    Walk right up, close enough that they can smell your breath, staring them straight in the eye. Then ask politely “Darf ich bitte durch?” Then cough. Helps to have had a kimchee döner that day for lunch.

  • I’d just pee on their leg and then tell them that if they hadn’t been standing in my path I could have made it to the toilet in time.

  • Mutter getthefckouttamyway in a menacing, gutteral tone while you’re doing it. That helps get across more A in the P-A. 🙂

  • Prashanth M

    When in Germany, do it the German way……they’ll love it too!!
    Just stand with them near the door!!…well at least you are showing them an “integration attempt”!

  • How funny, I did the shoulder hit with a guy just this morning (well, actually it was more like my shoulder, his elbow) and he moved out of my way.
    At this point I don’t even care if the PA “educational strategies” actually work… it makes me feel better, with the added bonus of gettingthefuckerouttamyway!

  • Anon

    If you knock a woman down, the same will happen to you.

  • mateo – people seem oblivious to others and to repeated clues.

    cliff1976 – thanks for making me laugh this morning. I have the greatest problem getting off the train in Jena in the morning; I’ll have to brave kimchee for breakfast.

    Cynical Queer – you have a skill I do not: peeing on command while getting off a train.

    ian in hamburg – I’ll try, but these tend to be people who think they’re God’s gift to mankind and that nothing they do is ever wrong or inconsiderate.

    Prashanth M – actually when the train gets crowded, I just stand in the vestibule. It’s easier, I listen to music, and I am first off the train (and that’s probably why I run into people on the platform).

    Snooker in Berlin – The last time I did it, I certainly felt a lot better. I think it was a teen girl who was entering a Weimar bus via its back door after school. I wasn’t the only person getting off the bus either.

    Anon – What makes women special? If a woman stop in the middle of a densely packed crowd all moving one direction trying to get off the platform, she’s going to get run over / knocked down. And I’ll trip and fall on her. It will still be her fault.

  • Adam, I’ll knock that woman down for you. It makes me absolutely IRATE when people just stop in the middle of a crowded walkway. I’ll gladly ram into her.