Commuter Bus Etiquette

I have been riding the commuter bus for nearly 8 years now. I started riding the bus when a company I worked for years ago subsidized the the monthly pass at the same rate that they paid for parking for their employees. It was a great deal, I could park my car at the park’n’ride and ride the bus in; all was great. Fewer miles on the car meant the health of the car went up. However, There are some unwritten rules of commuter bus riding that I am now going to put into writing. Basically because they’re common sense rules that very few people actually follow. It’s called common courtesy, people! Have you never heard of that?

Rule #1: Let the ladies on the bus first. This is the only exception to rule #2. If there is a lady waiting for the bus, let her on first. Chivalry is not dead, and don’t shove her out of the way so you can get a better seat. Especially in the cold, snow, or rain.

Rule #2: Board the bus in the order you arrived at the stop. It disgusts me when someone who arrives late barges onto the bus, cutting off others who have been patiently waiting. The bus won’t leave without you, you can let those of us who have been waiting the longest board first.

Rule #3: Check behind you before throwing your seat into the farthest reclining position. This goes for plane commuters as well. Nothing is more annoying than your laptop being closed by the jerk sitting in the seat in front of you. That being said, if you are fully reclined and someone sits down behind you, Lift your seat up. Be nice to your fellow commuters (psst…. this is called courtesy…. look it up).

Rule #4: If you aren’t using a laptop, don’t take the biggest seats. sure, you arrived before someone else and think you deserve the seat with the greatest space, but have you ever tried to do your work on a laptop that is mostly closed? As I type this, my knuckles are bumping against my screen because the guy sitting in the laptop seat is fully reclined and napping. C’mon dude, Some of us would like to open our laptops to work. You can nap in a smaller seat.

Rule #5: Don’t get upset if someone glances over your shoulder at what you’re doing. I’m an aspiring author. I work on my novel while commuting. I have met several other very nice and people because they glanced over my shoulder and saw what I was doing. One lady was an author and play-write that I met while traveling on a business trip to New York. I never got her name, but we had a wonderful talk about the publishing world and the competition that exists, all because she asked what I was writing.

Rule #6: Your carry-on bags don’t need their own seat. With very few exceptions (you shouldn’t be doing a week’s worth of grocery shopping using the bus anyway), your carry-on pack shouldn’t be so big that it requires its own seat. If you are riding a small inner-city run bus, then some leniency should be given, but if riding a commuter coach, there are overhead bins or outside under-belly storage bins for such packages. Put them in there. 

Rule #7: You do not need two seats… scoot in! If you’re so anti-social, that you need to take both/all seats in your row, perhaps you shouldn’t be riding the bus anyway. If you’re taking two seats (either by laying down or otherwise occupying a second seat, see rule #6), you are a douche. Again, there are situations where this rule need to be treated with a bit of leniency. If the rider is in a wheelchair (duh), or if they are otherwise incapacitated (think walker, crutches, foul-smelling), then some discretion should be taken. 

This rule list doesn’t just go for the riders, I have a couple rules for the bus drivers as well.

Driver Rule #1: Don’t turn off the internet when you drive into town. I pay $200 a month for my commute pass, and that pass comes with the express amenity of internet access. Just because we’re getting close to the inner-city stops doesn’t mean we are done using the internet. This didn’t bother me as much when I only paid $25/year for my subsidized pass, but now that I am working for a new company that doesn’t pay a dime for commuting or parking, it bothers me when a service I’m paying for is disabled.

Driver Rule #2: Stop at the marked bus stop. On the route I ride, they’ve made some adjustments to stops. They’ve removed some stops and moved others farther down the road, yet all the drivers still stop at the removed stops or stop at the prior location of the stop. One of the stops was moved closer to the intersection crosswalk so that when riders get off, they can make it to the intersection and cross at the next light change. But the driver doesn’t stop there. No, the driver continues another quarter mile or so down the road to where the stop used to be. C’mon driver. The stop was moved for a reason. Please honor it.

Driver Rule #3: If you see a guy busting his butt chasing down your bus, wait for the guy. I see this day in and day out. The bus arrives early (sometimes more than 5 minutes early) to their stop, and commuters who know the schedule are perhaps a half-block away. The commuter breaks out in an all-out run to catch the bus, but the driver drives away as the poor soul reaches the stop. Driver! You have Mirrors, If you drive away when someone is running with all their heart to catch your bus, and you’re early to the stop anyways, You are the problem. It’s no wonder that riders don’t like drivers sometimes. If you’re even 1 minute early to a stop, wait the minute for the people who are expecting you to be at your stop at the schedule! GOSH!

I’m done. If you are a commuter and feel I’ve missed a rule, please leave it in the comments below.