As you may have guessed by reading this site, I am carfree. As a result of such, I take advantage of my area’s public transportation regularly. While it certainly isn’t stellar compared to other systems that I’ve experienced such as those in New York and Paris, where urban sprawl is less of a problem and more places are accessible via public transportation, my area does a mediocre job. Because I take the bus or train regularly, I’ve developed my own list of pet peeves for public transport.
* People who sit in the aisle seat when the train is crowded. You’re surrounded by strangers; surely it won’t kill you to sit next to one or scoot over when someone needs to sit down. So just sit in the window seat and suck it up. While we’re on that topic, it’s acceptable to scoot over if you’re sitting alone and your stop is coming up.
* People who get on the bus and get off at the very next stop. You may as well walk. Just like I should have done tonight when the bus at the train station took twenty minutes to leave. I could have been home by then if I had just walked.
* People who evade bus payments just because the bus is parked at the train station and the bus driver isn’t there. I’ve witnessed this, and it particularly irks me because my area transit system doesn’t receive any state funding. Just because the system relies on your funding doesn’t mean you can just skip it whenever you want.
* Non-disabled people and non-seniors sitting in the areas clearly labeled for such when there are seniors and disabled persons sitting in other areas of the train. Disabilities aren’t always visible. However, when an ordinary person (or worse, a group of ordinary people who are obviously friends) take up the front seats and the people who should have those seats are relegated to the rest of the train, in part because the people at the front won’t give up their seats for them, that’s just disrespect–not of rules but of people and time.
* Exit signs from stations that aren’t clearly labeled. Last week I exited a station I had never been to before and was looking for a road that Google Maps said I should take. It wasn’t there, according to the exit sign. The two roads that were there did exist and did sound familiar, but the arrows to those roads pointed in the same direction. I was not looking for either of those roads, nor were either of those roads in my directions. Luckily I found my destination (and I didn’t even need the road I was looking for–in fact, the way I wound up taking was much easier), but the labels indicating the roads were unclear to new people. If a city is going to be tourist-friendly, making signs clearer should be a first step.
This is not to mean that I don’t like public transportation. I love it, but there are cons to it, just as there are cons to driving. Discussing my local public transport system is another story entirely and is best saved for another day, preferably one in which I have more time and ranting room.