Tag Archives: bus fouls

Bus fouls: an update

One I forgot to mentiontwice–back in ’06 (an egregious oversight for a Seattle-based bus chick):

Placing a wet umbrella on an empty adjacent seat. Hey, when’s the last time you enjoyed planting your behind in a huge puddle of cold water? For optimum bus citizenship, shake off your umbrella before entering the vehicle and then store it under your feet or in your bus chick bag* for the ride.

*I have lost many an umbrella by leaving them on the floor, so I now always put them back in my bag. My current bag has a mesh outer pouch that seems to be made expressly for this purpose, but if you don’t have one, you can carry a plastic bag or umbrella cover to avoid getting your other stuff wet.

Another class III bus foul

This one, like the first, took place on the 27, which, remarkably, still holds the top spot on my list of favorite routes.

Dog on seat
He was elderly.

Dogs on buses? OK. Dogs on bus seats? Not OK.

Did I mention that he was licking the headrest?

Custom dictates that I close out this post with a basketball metaphor–one that doesn’t exactly apply but at least gives me an opportunity to squeeze in a shout to my favorite sport. (An example: “A foul of this magnitude might result in the whole dang team getting sold out from under its loyal [yet stadium-weary] fans.”) Unfortunately, I can’t do that today, as I am officially boycotting the NBA. Hmph!

Speaking of bus fouls…

Given the recent discussion about cell phone conversations on the bus, I thought I’d share this PSA, spotted earlier today on an eastbound 27:

Cell phone PSA
“Too much. Too loud. Please be courteous when using your cell phone on the bus.”

I realize I’m probably in the minority on this, but I don’t find anything inherently wrong with cell-phone talking in transit. After all, you can’t expect silence on the bus. Folks are talking to each other, babies are crying, the driver is calling out stops over the PA … you get the picture. If the conversations are quiet and about subjects that are appropriate for public consumption, I don’t see the harm. When they’re not, the problem isn’t cell phones; it’s rudeness. Loud, personal conversations are a no-no, whether on the phone or in the flesh.

Even though I’m not a big bus phone-talker, I think having the option is one of the (many) advantages of public transportation. Drivers must pay attention to the road, while we transit types can use our travel time as we see fit (see below)–even, if we so choose, to check on a restaurant reservation or catch up with Mom.

Your turn.

A class III bus foul (or, Why I wash my hands a lot)

Despite Metro’s official “no eating” policy, sneaking a couple of bites of something on the bus is fairly common, and, as far as I’m concerned, fairly innocuous. I figure, as long as folks aren’t leaving trash or crumbs, there’s not much harm in a bit of nibbling (on a Black Russian from Three Girls Bakery, for example) en route.

But what’s with the trend of sitting down in the front and devouring a Styrofoam container of teriyaki like you’re at the table? I, for one, am not a fan of listening to strangers slurp down their dinners while I travel. And don’t even get me started on the smell. Which is why I was particularly appalled when…

On a recent 27 ride, Bus Nerd and I had the privilege of witnessing a senior gentleman attacking a bag of grocery-store fried chicken, Bus-Chick-meets-chocolate-ice-cream-style. (We were facing forward, and he was directly in front of us facing sideways, so we had no choice but to watch.) I found the sound (smacking after every bite?) and smell annoying, but, hey–I’m a “live and let live” kind of bus chick. The man wasn’t (exactly) hurting anyone, so I gave him a pass. Maybe he was really hungry.

But when he started licking his fingers–[insert KFC joke here]–one at a time, and with relish, his behavior moved from mildly annoying to downright unacceptable. I turned to Bus Nerd.

“If he touches the pole, I’m going to kill myself.”

Folks, I should be writing this post from the heavens. The man did, indeed, touch the pole, and many other parts of the bus, including the cord and the fare box. (How often do you think those things get cleaned?). He even left a lovely grease (or was it saliva?) hand print behind as a parting gift.

There is no basketball metaphor that covers a bus foul of this magnitude. Flagrant? Nope. Technical? Uh-uh. We’re not even in game-ejection territory. We’re talking league suspension, people, Ron Artest-style.

Just, no.

Japanese “etiquette police” take on bus foulers

Yokohama transit types, beware the Smile-Manners Squadron!

From a recent BBC article:

…transport authorities in Yokohama – a port city south of Tokyo – have appointed a team of manners enforcers, the Smile-Manner Squadron, to try to curb … bad behaviour.

The team is mostly made up of over-60s, well acquainted with the standards of conduct associated with the “old Japan”.

But many of these enforcers will be accompanied by younger bodyguards, should their etiquette advice – diplomatically given, of course – not prove welcome.

(Thanks for the link, Chris!)

Apparently, Yokohamans commit some of the same bus fouls as residents of our fair city.

… failing to offer your seat to pregnant and elderly people, chatting loudly on mobile phones, applying make-up in public, and listening to music on “leaky” headphones.

I’ve been itching to issue citations for these (and other) transit transgressions for years. Anyone down to play bodyguard?

Is this seat taken? (or, What a bus chick will do for love)

Bus Chick, with the man she commits bus fouls forBecause Bus Nerd and I “met” on the bus we ride to work, our early courtship was supplemented by some infatuation-enhancing bus conversations, the kind that actually made me look forward to my commute. Pre-Bus Nerd, I relished my mornings. I loved that I didn’t have to be at work at any particular time, and I never rushed. If I missed my regular bus, well, there’d be another in 15 minutes. More time for NPR. After I got to know him (and which departure time would likely result in an encounter with him), I warmed up to rushing and regularly found myself running up the hill toward the bus stop, coat unbuttoned, bus chick bag half packed.

The problem was, there was no guarantee we’d get to sit together. Back then, I got on downtown (about midway down 4th Avenue), and he got on several stops later, at Montlake. Folks, I’m not proud of this, but it’s time I came clean: I wanted to sit by Bus Nerd so badly that I regularly (and intentionally) committed a minor bus foul: I saved him a seat.

I used the standard tactics: leaving my bus chick bag on the seat next to me (a shocking transgression by a woman who prides herself on her impeccable bus etiquette) and pretending to be busy digging through it each time new people boarded. Sometimes I even resorted to feigning sleep to avoid being asked to move it.

In my defense, I never held the seat if there weren’t others available (remind me to tell you about the time my sister, a much braver soul than I, almost started a bus riot by saving a seat on a standing-room-only bus), and I didn’t turn down anyone who directly asked to sit there–OK, one woman, but that was because Bus Nerd was right behind her and there were several seats open in the area. (Yikes. That one might actually be a sin to confess to Busfather.)

I still look forward to my rides with Bus Nerd, but I don’t miss those nerve-racking seat-saving days, and I still haven’t forgiven myself for breaking the bus riders’ code.

Your turn. Ever intentionally committed a bus foul?

Speaking of etiquette…

A multimodal bus foul:

Wiping the post-bike-to-the-bus-stop sweat from one’s brow with one’s bare hands and then repeatedly flinging said sweat toward the front of the bus, nearly missing several other passengers and the driver.

A good way to avoid committing this one: packing a towel or rag in one’s pannier/bus chick bag.