The Weirdest Habits of Public Transport Users

Published on: 14 April 2015

If you’re a public transport user, you may be aware of the variety of oddballs that you encounter on your daily commute. Perhaps you find yourself wedged between someone humming along loudly to a song that only they can hear and an immovable wall with no means of escape. At the best, they’re quirky, at their worst, downright unbearable.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the weirdest habits of public transport users:

The ‘No Frills, No Fuss’ Businessperson

This is the type of individual who is using public transport because it’s the easiest way for them to get to that urgent 7 AM daily meeting (organised by them, of course, because this commuter is a workaholic). They are there to simply get from A to B, and their weirdest habit is that of being able to completely ignore anyone else’s existence. They will not smile at you, they certainly won’t greet you and will barely acknowledge it if they accidentally bump into you. Warning: this commuter may be inclined to engage in overly loud telephone conversations.

How to survive this commuter: You don’t have to do anything! They won’t notice your existence anyway. Just plug your earphones into your ears or plant your nose into your book.

The Chatterbox

This commuter sees their journey as an opportunity to catch up on gossip, talk about their feelings and commiserate over just about anything that they can think of. Their weirdest habit? Sparking a conversation with anyone in the vicinity who is willing to listen (and even those who aren’t) about their life story.

How to survive this commuter: Wear your earphones as soon as you’ve found your seat. If you’re caught with a question or eye contact, simply smile and make a point of focusing on your phone, the newspaper or your fingernails. Do this only if you aren’t a chatterbox who is looking for some small talk yourself.

The Gross One

This is the commuter who coughs, sneezes and snuffles all over you. They may have woken up with the bubonic plague, but they still intend on using public transport and standing in close quarters with everyone anyway.

How to survive this commuter: At the first whisper of a sniffle, move as far away as possible. Remember, it’s not offensive to hold a handkerchief over your mouth to protect yourself from germs – certainly not as offensive as they are being in their decision to use public transport when they are clearly unwell. If you are a regular public transport user, you should take multivitamins each day and live a healthy lifestyle, as this will go a long way in protecting you from the circulating viruses and bugs that you may encounter on your travels.

The Personal Space Thief

This is the type of commuter who doesn’t have a concept of personal space. They may not be ill-intentioned but they have no problem leaning on you, and taking up way more of their designated seating space. This can make for an incredibly uncomfortable journey.

How to survive this commuter: If you can’t move away, shift your body away from them so that they can see that you are uncomfortable. If they aren’t that perceptive, or don’t seem to care, ask them politely to move up a bit. It is out of your hands as to whether they take offence, but at least you won’t be uncomfortable.

Now that you know how to handle the various types of commuters and their odd habits, it’s up to you to decide whether you can bear to continue commuting via public transport. If you are going to purchase your own car, find out about car insurance from MiWay to keep both you and your vehicle protected.

Interested to learn about South Africa’s dependence on the automotive industry? Click here.