Friday, January 24, 2014

How to: Be a Commuter in Melbourne

Ya'll, things are about to get rant-y. Buckle up.

I've only been taking public transport to get to work for the last two weeks and people do not seem to understand the basic etiquette on how to deal with commuter traffic on Melbourne's trams and trains. Here are a few simple guidelines on surviving public transport and not being an impolite nuisance to the rest of us. I'm sure this isn't specific to Melbourne, but I've never really taken public transport in other cities.

1. I'd like to think that as a commuter I'm capable of a nice leisurely walk along a platform or around the train station. But the truth is, I'm generally in a hurry - as are the THOUSANDS of other people in the train station. So dilly dallying around, weaving back and forth, and generally walking slowly are truly not appreciated. People are running to catch trains, trying to get back home to their families, trying to get to an early morning meeting, or catch a connecting tram/train. We've got places to go and people to see. Get out of my way or I will give you the evil eye.

1B. Stay on the left side of the escalator if you're not going to walk up. Please. Please? Do make me beg.

2. I thought this was common sense but I see it everyday. LET PEOPLE OFF THE TRAM/TRAIN before you GET ON THE TRAM/TRAIN. For the love of cheese, in a packed tram or train the only way one is going to get ON is to let people OFF first. Don't crowd the door, don't push me aside in a rush to get on. Just be patient. It will all be ok. Also, don't just stand there when the carriage is trying to empty and you're standing by the door. Get off stand a little bit to the side and let the other passengers off, the train driver will wait for you to get back on the train again. No really, I promise.

3. Which leads me to this next point, since when do we ignore queues? For generally polite people, Melbournians lose all ability to queue when it comes to getting on a train. The other day during the heatwave, the trains were a hot mess of running late, cancelled services and people were getting PUSHY. I was standing in line to enter an already packed carriage and people just were pushing in from the sides to cut in. It's not ok. Just stop it. We all have reasons to get on that train, just chillax. Be patient.

4. Take your back packs, large hand bags, coolers (yes, I said cooler) OFF YOUR SHOULDERS AND BACKS and place them on the floor. It's bad enough that my face is directly in your armpit without getting smacked in the chest every time you wiggle and move. Stop it. Just stop it.

Basically, be polite. Smile at your fellow commuter now and again, and for the love of Moses take your bags off.

Yours Truly,



  1. You're right! This can be applied to all cities, especially right here in London...especially the thing about the QUEUES !!! Time was, the British were very good at queueing. Now, not so much and it gets on my bloody nerves!

  2. This reminds me of my days in London when I could use trains. Sadly, the public transport structure barely exists here in SA... and dare I say, I miss it, even all the things you mentioned in you post.

  3. Don't you wish citizens could hand out tickets to people who don't get it, or some other kind of corrective action?

  4. Oh my. I feel for you dear. I truly hated commuting until I started using my mp3 player. I wanted to kill people.

  5. I think commuting is a universal plague. I used to have to catch the bus to the ferry docks, which means people will = cut in line, hogging whole sections of seats for their legs. Then getting on the ferry = more line cutting, shoving, and seat hogging. On the way back I get to add in all the people who don't realize I have to catch a bus, and they all wander around like mental midgets; stopping, blocking, cutting one off. It was the worst part of my day. Even the half hour walk from the ferry dock to work was full of peril. Cars run lights, go the wrong way down one ways .... ugh. I always thought in other countries it was easier to commute, because the cities and everything are set up better for public transportation. Sorry to hear you have to do this too. I'm feelin' the pain lovie. Hang in there :)

  6. I don't have the face-in-armpit luxury. I'm too short. I get elbowed in the face all the time. In queues, on train platforms, in the subway...pretty much anywhere people are standing.

  7. Who would think wearing a cooler on your back is a good thing? I don't even want to know . . .

    All I can say is good luck to ya! Geez. I have a hard enough time driving in to work. The rude factor boggles the mind. Sigh.

  8. Let people off before you get on!!!!!! Yes!!!! It's one of my pet peeves in London when people don't do that. It fills me with irrational rage! x

  9. Deidre....
    I am all caught up in commenting on your Blog now!! Whew!! ;)
    Very good, Friend!! ;-D

  10. Seriously, if everyone could just be polite life would be SO easy.