International students face a number of challenges when trying to adjust to a new culture. Way down on that list is a subject, which although often overlooked, remains an important topic for international students to consider, especially in a highly populated and cosmopolitan city such as Melbourne. That subject is public transport etiquette.
For those of you well travelled, you will have undoubtedly come across an array of differing norms and conventions when it comes to public transport etiquette. Some things that are ok in one place might not be ok in another. This means, it’s important to do a little reading about what’s ok and what’s not, in order to avoid annoying your fellow passengers. Here are our top 5 tips for public transport etiquette:
1. No eating and drinking
In many countries, it is considered perfectly normal to eat on public transport. In Australia, you can drink some water or other non-alcohol drinks and maybe even sneak in a little snack but don’t expect to be popular if you start feasting on a hot meal, particularly if it smells. Best to leave eating till your get home or outside the confines of a bus or tram.
2. Don’t block a spare seat with your bag
If you are travelling at a quiet time, it is acceptable to place your bag on an empty seat next to you. However, as the vehicle starts to fill up, you should move your bag to allow another passenger to sit down. Nothing is more annoying than having to stand while someone else’s bag gets the luxury of sitting.
3. Shoes off the seats please
Shoes are pretty gross. They walk in all kinds of muck, which is something to consider before you plant them on a clean seat. Even if someone isn’t in the seat now, there will be someone eventually, and they don’t want to sit where your shoes have been.
4. Keep the noise level down
Nobody wants to hear your latest tunes blaring through your headphones or have to listen to your personal conversations on your phone. Keep the music to a level that it doesn’t fill an entire carriage and if you need to shout into your phone, then there might be a more appropriate place for a chat.
5. Give up your seat if someone needs it
This rule should be universal around the world, but it’s always worth a reminder. If it appears like somebody would benefit from your seat, for example, an elderly or pregnant person, then stand up and offer them your seat. It’s a simple act of kindness, but it goes a long way.