I sincerely love riding our community’s Metrobuses. They’re generally clean, safe, and comfortable. Mind you, it really depends on which route you ride: some buses, and the people you find on them, are a bit more pleasant than others. Nevertheless, for the most part, there is an underlying sense of camaraderie and a tacit respect for one’s fellow passengers which pervades the public bus-riding experience.

Public transit brings people together and engenders cohesiveness. Unspoken bonds are formed between strangers of all races, socio-economic statuses, and walks-of-life during the shared passage to their respective destinations. In a city as diverse and socio-ethnically/socio-economically segregated as Miami, we need more transit-facilitated social capital.

Sometimes, though, I can’t help but be overcome by indignation when encountering people on the buses (or trains) who seem to have no sense of basic transit etiquette.

You know who I’m talking about: those star-crossed lovers who want the whole bus to endure the loud, profanity-ridden telephone drama they’re having with their significant others; that obnoxious group of young, want-to-be rappers free-styling (poorly) to beats blasting out of their Smartphones; the girl who spills her soda and indifferently moves to a different seat to avoid the mess she just created; that sad homeless guy in unwashed clothes who, saturated by the smell of cigarettes and stale urine, just can’t resist to strike-up a halitosis-filled conversation about his past lives (only to then ask for money from any sympathetic listener) . . . the list goes on.

Among the very worst violations of transit etiquette, though, is the most common to find, and that’s what makes it the most infuriating. Some people just don’t understand the principle of one-seat per person. On packed buses, this is intolerable.

You’ve already taken up more than one full seat for your body, must your bags take the other two next to you?! Where’s the basic transit etiquette?

So please, when you have a bag — or two, or three, or four — with you on transit, please volunteer to remove it from the seat. Place the item(s) on your lap, under the seat, or, when available, in the overhead luggage rack.

Nobody should bear the burden of actually having to ask permission to occupy a seat covered by bags, or your extended feet, or your left-over slice of pizza, etc. The burden shouldn’t fall on the person looking for a seat. The seat(s) should be graciously offered by the person whose articles occupy it by removing them invitingly as those in need of a seat board the bus.

Please occupy only one seat until you’re absolutely sure you’re not denying any other passenger a place to sit. It makes the whole public transit experience better for all . . .

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8 Responses to Transit Etiquette: One Seat Per Person

  1. Alex Baquero-Lima says:

    That is a huge…eh woman?


  2. Meghan says:

    Very important topic…on and off the train.
    “Good manners will open doors that education cannot.” Clarence Thomas


  3. Kyle says:

    I totally agree with this, however, I can almost guarantee that all these transit etiquette violators are not TM readers. On the whole though, I find Miamians fairly courteous on our trains and buses.


  4. prem says:

    i make it much easier for everyone, if there’s a seat I want I say, “I want to sit there” very assertively. Never had an issue.


  5. Brandt A. says:

    What I hate even more than this, is when people of this person’s size come and sit right next to me…and the overflow sort of crushes me.


  6. Mike Moskos says:

    A little off topic, but MDT seems to be using the first floor of the MLK station parking garage for storage of bus benches. So, if you find yourself waiting for a bus and there’s no seats, you’ll be happy to know there are lots of them collecting dust in the MLK parking garage that could be deployed.


  7. BK says:

    I hate when people take pictures of me when I’m riding the bus.


  8. prem says:

    there’s no expectation of privacy on a bus, there’s cameras pointed right at you before you even get on.


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