Sun 6 Jul 2008
Let me expain.
Melbourne public transport is currently extraordinarily popular. And when I say popular, I don’t mean people like it, but they do have to use it. The Herald Sun reports that one in five Melburnians are using it to get to work, and there are now 30% more people riding it than three years ago.
When I catch the train in the morning, there are usually something like twenty people crowded near the doors on each carriage, and everyone at my platform has to push to get on. So, when I do manage to actually get on, and I’m crushed nose-to-armpit with the morning mosh-pit, how am I supposed to feel when I see empty seats?
Unbelievably, most mornings there is at least one seat free. However, there is a strange ethic that means people don’t want to sit down. There is some kind of pride in standing. Sitting might deprive some other hypothetical traveller of a seat who is more entitled to it. Sitting down seems to be a greater evil than causing people to be crushed half to death.
Please! People! If there’s a seat near you, then sit in it! I’d rather watch you enjoying a seat than have you contribute to my discomfort.
Maybe this whole rant qualifies me for Grumpy Old Men, but the crowding on public transport is only going to get worse, and we need to change seating etiquette if we are to cope.