Posted by: bkivey | 30 March 2010

The Way They Roll

As a frequent rider of public transit, I have ample opportunity to observe the various types of people who frequent mass transit. Most people board the vehicle, pay their fare, sit down, and get off at the their stop. Completely unremarkable. Then there are those who make the trip memorable, and frequently cause one to think that the best argument for a private vehicle is public transit.

The Commenter

Thinks that every remark by someone else requires a comment from them. May also contribute unsolicited comments on whatever catches their fancy outside the window or on some completely random subject. Frequently combines attributes of the Foghorn and the Babbler.

The Foghorn

They don’t HAVE an ‘indoor voice’. Everything they say can be heard the length of the vehicle. No subject matter is too private, and they often turn the volume of their phones up so passengers are treated to both sides of the conversation.

The Babbler

This person’s brain has no filter. Every random neural firing exits their mouth. They are often under the impression that what they have to say is of interest to those around them.

The Druggie

These people enter the vehicle reeking of dope smoke. I don’t care if you smoke dope, but I sure don’t want to smell your habit the entire trip. On one occasion two kids actually started smoking a pipe on the bus. I called them out and they put it away. What were they going to do? They were high as a kite.

The closely related behaviour are the drug deals I have heard people making on their phones without bothering to conceal the activity. Like getting on the vehicle smelling of dope smoke, this is just ignorant.

The Rock Star

They like their music, and they like it loud, and they want to make sure that you have the opportunity to enjoy it with them. I have noticed that the quality of the music seems to be inversely proportional to the ability or desire of the person to buy decent headphones. By contrast if you ride the light rail to downtown during the morning and evening you will see dozens of people with head phones and nary a sound will be heard. Over the last several years I have started asking people to turn their music down if I can make out the words.

The Sprawler

When most people ride public transit they usually put their bags or purses or what have you on the seat next to them. I do this too. When the vehicle starts to fill up most people will move their stuff off the seats to make room for others. The Sprawler refuses to do this, apparently believing that paying one fare entitles them to two seats. A Sprawler variation is to sit in such a way as to take up two seats.

The Fiddler

This type of rider is constantly fiddling with their stuff. Opening and closing packages, rearranging bags, they seem incapable of sitting still. On one ride I watched a woman pull everything out of her grocery bags, examine each item, and put them back. These people drive me nuts.

The Diner

I have never ridden a public transit system anywhere that didn’t explicitly ban eating and drinking on the system. Aside from the obvious hygiene issues, the smell of food in combination with the usual human-generated odors in a confined environment can be downright nauseating. The Diner is unconcerned with any consideration for other’s sensibilities and can only focus on stuffing their face Right Now. As for disposing of the wrappings and other refuse? Fugeddaboutit! Onto the floor it goes.


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