I don’t often take public transportation, but the popularity of ride-sharing services like Uber Pool and Lyft has meant that we’re increasingly traveling in close proximity to strangers. All the more reason to practice good etiquette.
I was struck by video footage I saw recently of a woman using a home hair dye kit on a public bus. Can you imagine the smell — and the mess?
I’ve seen plenty of people make themselves overly comfortable at the expense of others on planes, trains, and buses. A personal pet peeve is eating food, particularly when the dish is particularly strong-smelling or messy. A cereal bar is fine; pulling out a takeout container of last night’s Chinese or, as I saw a man on a New York City subway once do, suck the meat off of a chicken bone from a thermos of soup is not.
Being loud or rowdy is also an annoyance. A friend of mine recently took a train trip and found herself sandwiched between four young men who were loudly carrying on a conversation over her shoulder. Even if you’re not in a designated “quiet car,” you should keep phone calls to a minimum, use headphones if you’re listening to music, and talk at a low volume. Lots of people like to use their travel time to catch up on rest, read a book, do work, or just relax. Respect that.
Lastly, being comfortable doesn’t mean putting your feet up, making a mess, or doing things that are best left to the privacy of one’s home. I’ve seen people clips their nails on trains, do elaborate yoga positions — not just stretches — in the aisles of planes, or stick their bare feet on their seatmate’s chair. Remember: This isn’t your house.
If we all practice some common courtesy, our commutes and travel can be so much more pleasant!