Etiquette and crankiness


Although there have been many convictions for rowdy conduct in the trains to Frankston at weekends, offences of this kind constantly occur. At the Malvern Court on Monday, before Mr. Cohen, P.M. and Messrs. Patterson, Hattam, and Carroll, J.P.’s, the Railway Department proceeded against Bernand Molloy, 214 George street, Fitzroy, and George Spence, 399 Drummond street, Carlton, on a charge of having interfered with the comfort of other passsengers in the half past 7 down train to Frankston on December 30. Inspector P. Roy represented the department, but the defendants did not appear.

The evidence of Detective O’sullivan, who was in company with Detective Wilson on the occasion, showed that three men, including the two defendants, entered a first class compartment at Flinders street. They had bottles of beer with them. Molloy, sat with his legs dangling out of the Tait carriage, and was guilty of indecent conduct. The three were jostling and pulling one another about, and used filthy language. There were several passengers, including ladies, in the carriage. One of the men jumped from the train into the pit at Malvern and escaped; the others were taken out at Caulfield, and gave wrong names and addresses.

Mr. Cohen said that this sort of thing was becoming very frequent, and he was glad that the department was taking action. He travelled on that line, and there never seemed to be any officers about. Defendants would be fined £10 each, with 5/ costs.

The Argus, Tuesday 6 February 1917.

That was ninety years ago. So a lack of consideration for fellow passengers from some has always been a problem.

Witness the two young males with their feet on the seats all the way from Bentleigh to Parliament on Monday morning. One apparently fast asleep and possibly oblivious to the fact that the carriage filled to the brim, the other trying to look like he was asleep, but not actually in the land of nod.

I’m hoping they got a little surprise at Parliament, as a group of inspectors got on further down the carriage, and were encouraged by a passenger (grin) to go give these blokes a wake-up call.

On Tuesday the Frankston line was suffering from signalling faults. Track 3 was out of action, so trains from the city went onto track 2, with trains to the city (both express and stoppers) squeezing onto track 1. The result was predictable overcrowding, and though my trip was made in good time, it was uncomfortable, and at some of the MATHS stations, people couldn’t squeeze on.

I could hear a couple of people getting cranky when (a) asking people to move down into the carriage (that was the first thing I’d done when I boarded) and (b) trying to get out and having another person closer to the door refuse to momentarily step out to let them through.

You’d always hope people would be more considerate of others. Sadly it’s not always the case.

See also 19/1/2004: PT etiquette guide

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “Etiquette and crankiness”

Legs dangling out of the Tait carriage?
Using filthy language?
Drinking alcohol on board a train?
Good to see the people of Marvellous Melbourne are so consistent through the years ;)

My pet etiquette peeve is the people who board a Hurstbridge train early in the city loop, snag a cushy window seat and watch the train fill/over-fill around them. These charming people then inconvenience everybody else when they suddenly realise we have already stopped at their station (Clifton Hill usually) and try to push their way out of the carriage in an irate rush.

People often mistakenly associate public transport (particularly trains) with drunken and loutish behaviour. Little do people realise that a lack of mental health funding (we have no 24 hour mental health services), social support or accessible education.

Having said that, even the most professional, educated person can lose their dignity in Kosky’s cattle class.

Kosky’s cattle class sounds more like sardine class Reuben, which is currently at 98%.

Wouldn’t it be dangerous to fall asleep on a train especially when there are a lot of weirdos at various times of the day. On VLine trains there is usually a conductor carriage guard on board. We need them on suburban trains.

Here in Japan there is a campaign in place (at least in Tokyo) to encourage better etiquette. Now, I’ve had little trouble with any rowdiness or shennanigans on Japanese trains – the ‘social contract’ that people enter into in Japan means that untoward behavior is rarely seen. So, what are the concerns of the Japanese public travelers? Things like women putting on makeup, people carrying backpacks, not listening to music too loud on your mp3 player and the like. When I get back to Melbourne and see ‘characters’ running up and down carriages, swigging from cans of beer, smoking and swearing at the top of their lungs, bringing onto a train their pet dog that growls and snaps at other passengers (all seen within a 2 week trip this March) I just despair.

This is a sample of the current ‘etiquette’ signs being used in Tokyo. (Is a link OK Daniel?)

haha, the Frankston Line: moving discotheque on Friday and Saturday nights since (at least) 1917. guess some things never change…

I actually fled the train last week after signalling faults between Spencer and Flinders Street stations were buggered and made each train at least 20 minutes late. People were screaming at each other and carrying on like the proverbial watch. Was a bit much for a mild agoraphobic like me to take.

The problem with the trains and the whole moving down issue is the lack of hand holds. My balance is shit anyway, I am NOT going to stand in the middle of an aisle and not hold onto anything. If that means there’s a foot of space between me and the person further on, so be it.

Some of my biggest PT (specifically trams) hates are:

1) Schoolkids who insist on leaving their bags in the doorway and refusing to move them when politely asked to do so by other passengers. These also seem to be the bad-mannered brats who hog all the seats and then fail to stand up for the elderly/pregnant.

2) Passengers who share their germs by not covering their nose/mouth when sneezing/coughing.

3) Spitting on the floor of the tram. I think the middle-aged bloke who did that in front of me a few years ago is still reeling from the lecture I gave him about his disgusting behaviour.

Keep up the good work!

Cheers, Walker

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