Whether it be social, recreational, or professional, some of what represents me is here. Post a comment, or contact me at should you so desire.

The posts are in reverse chronological order, and are pegged by topic on the links to the left. For more of an introduction, please see the About this site page listed above.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Things which bother me: Public Transit Protocol

I'm pretty sure you have been on some form of public transit at least once in your life. In theory, it's an amazing system; a convenient, reliable, environmentally-friendly way to bring people to the places they need. Additionally, it's great for bringing people together. I read an article about how an elderly couple, married over 40 years, met on a streetcar. Isn't that nice?

Now, some of you may have cringed, pulled at your shirt collars or otherwise just felt uncomfortable about some of my adjectives used above for the public transit system. I live in Toronto, and so the system we use is called the Toronto Transit Commision, or TTC. (Unless you're talking about the Zum, YRT, or VIVA, but they're all the same, really.) The TTC is a hotbed of complaint; buses/trains/streetcars running late, streetcars not running and no notification or signage to that effect. Delays, strikes, fare hikes, all this and more I have heard concerning the unreliability of the TTC. But, when it works, it works. I get on, sit down, and wait my time, enjoying a good book or re-enjoying Journey's Don't Stop Believin' whilst fellow TTC patrons grow uncomfortable with my dancing.

What's not so nice is when the patrons lack the proper transit protocol. You know what I'm talking about. There are unwritten, and some written, rules or guidelines for taking public transit and when people do not follow said rules, it drives me insane.

First off, move to the back of the bus! Unless you are going one or two stops, you should not stay in the front. Especially, when you don't have the presence of mind to move out of my way. You're blocking the path, which is not only annoying, it increases the transit time as the driver has to wait for everyone to embark and to do so, they have to move past your oblivious, inconsiderate self.

Additionally, when moving to the back of the bus, move to the very back! Too often, I've gotten on a seemingly crowded bus, only to see that no one has moved to the very back. They crowd the back door, and thus what could have been simply a full busload, is now a congested, throng of people refusing to move back. And half the time, there are free seats back there! Don't tell me it's because you're afraid you cannot get off the bus. I've heard this before from my gentler, and shyer, of friends, but honestly, it's a weak excuse. I understand anxiety, but if you cannot gently push people out of your way, excusing yourself, in order to get off the bus...well, part of me wants to say that's silly and your fault, but to be nice, I'll just say that not EVERYONE is like this, and thus those who have no issue should move back.

Strollers. Remember when you were a kid, and had a stroller? No? Well, go into your garage or attic and look, you might find it. I know this is going to make me sound like a typical miser, but seriously, what the hell is with strollers these days? They're huge! It's like the gas-guzzling 4-wheel drive mentality has made it to stroller design. I see them all the time, these giant, 1-4 seater monstrosities with cup holders, baskets, and even mobiles. Seriously, it's like a tiny tank, and it's just as annoying to get past. Unlike Tiananmen Square, I'm trying to get past these tanks, and I am protesting my inability to do so. Now, did you find your stroller? I don't know about you, but compared to these 30 pounds of plastic and aluminum, my stroller was a canvas stretched across a travois. 

                                                                                                      To hell with public transit, I'm getting a horse!

What a simple design! Babies were accessible, and highly mobile. When my parents got on a bus, or otherwise crowded area, they could hold me in their arms and fold up the stroller, taking no more room than I do now with my school bag. Plus, and this is a little side note: I hate strollers. They either bore the child with a view of the parent, or they offer an exciting view of the world whilst distancing the parent-child connection. That may be a bit much, but when I have a kid, I want to have that kid close to me. I want to point out things of interest and see their smiling faces. Sure, once I have kids, I'll probably want to do anything to not have to look at them, those fiendish pontificaters who kept me up all night, but for now, I'm saying, to hell with strollers. Plus, what's with this nonsense of keeping kids in strollers past their comfortable walking age? I know someone who was in a stroller until she was 6. Six years old! According to some preliminary and probably error-prone research, I see that a child of 18 months, that's 1.5 years for those of you who can't math, should be able to walk independently. I understand wanting to keep your child safe, but by 6, if you can't control your child and it's foolish enough to walk away, it deserves to be raised by wolves. Just sayin'.

Now, TTC, right, that's where I was. So people come on the bus, with strollers, and they get right in the way. I wonder if any of them know that the front seats actually fold up for just such a contingency. I wonder if the patrons using said seats know this or if their lack of moving back is more excusable. Secondly, there is no reason to sit in the front. While it may be hard to see, the extent to which the seats protrude into the aisle changes, and there's actually a perfect seat for stroller-bearing parents. It's the 4th one back, the first that doesn't face the side, on the driver's side. It angles away from the aisle, and the gap between seats offers you enough room for you, your child, your stroller, and even groceries. So...get out of my way. I'll cut you a little break by not putting the exclamation mark because you're doing the best you can, and parenthood is tough, I know.

Cell phones and music. As loath as I am to say this, the average patron is not very friendly. People are so wrapped up in their own world and mistrusting of others that people rarely talk to nor acknowledge one another. This extends to your conversations or music. I don't want to hear either. Your conversation is none of my business and, most likely, very annoying. I don't care about your boyfriend or girlfriend. I don't care where your friend is right now or how drunk you were last night. Keep it to yourself and keep your volume on your phone, and your mouth, down. I just wish I could handle things like Spock does, from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, If only.

A quick and obvious complaint: if you're sitting on the seat closest to the aisle and the seat next to you is open, either move over or be willing to offer the inside seat to every single person walking by. To not do so is inconsiderate.

You're also in my way when I go to get off a subway car. I hate when the subway car pulls into a station and even though there are signs on both sides of the door saying "Let the patrons exit first before boarding", people still rush on barely giving me a chance to get off and out of their way. Again, this is not only inconsiderate, it is stupid as if I can't get out of your way, I am annoying you and wasting your time. Well, I wear a cape, and I'm not afraid to use it. When I go to get off a subway car, I stand right in the middle of the door's opening, looking as menacing as I can. I walk right out smashing into anyone foolish enough to rush on. Normally, I would weave and duck out of a person's way, because I am considerately trying to make things easier, but it's my right to exit first. If you don't like it, smarten up and move out of my way.

And I'm sure there are countless other things which many would count as impolite behaviour. The main point is that it is public transit; it is used by everyone. Remember that, pay attention, realize your actions affect others and, well, enjoy the ride.


  1. You've already covered most of the things I hate about public transit, but there's one you didn't mention: I hate it when I'm standing still and someone walks into me. I wasn't even moving! It's not like I suddenly appeared out of nowhere, they just ran into me for no reason.

  2. That's true, and all too common, unfortunately.