Backpacks aren’t actually people

Backpacks aren't actually people!

From Canada’s National Post (they have a few others too, but I liked this one the best).

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.

12 replies on “Backpacks aren’t actually people”

We so need that here. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that some people aren’t people, but DNA tests may actually prove me wrong.

I’ve gone so far as to lift one off the seat and say, “Sorry, is this yours? Yes? Well HERE” and hand it to the bonehead and sit straight down. It’s taken me a while, but as an older, odd-hours (ie therefore don’t have to see the same grim faces every damn day) traveller I don’t give a Fat Rat’s Clacker about what that person thinks of me.

Backpack hogging behaviour tends to go hand-in-hand with the six seaters (three facing three) where the ‘free’ seat is in the middle. As an – ahem- older woman with -cough- an arse that dwarves could shelter under, it gives me great pleasure to worm my way in, pushing my butt up against the face of the Turd who should have moved up in the first place.

Or is that just me?

Timely entry – just yesterday afternoon I got on a fairly full Dandenong train at Armadale and was greeted with one spare seat, and yes it:

• Was against the window with 5 others occupied;
• Had a backpack on it belonging to the adjacent passenger; and best of all …
• The prick opposite had his legs stetched under the seat, sort of trying to have a snooze

Standing there with a rather dirty look of wanting to sit down usually works. It took a little while for the person stretched out to realise the seat opposite was occupied!!

It’s been ages since I’ve been on a train but I do remember all the school kids doing this. When I had to travel by train to get to school, I never had any room to stash my bag under the seat so ended up with the heavy thing on my lap.
Eww, clipping nails is something I’ve experienced too!
I dislike people who hover around the doorway even though they aren’t getting off for ages, or people who hop on before everyone has hopped off. And people who whistle…

I find a polite request usually works – but inside I’m usually seething, thinking up clever comments like, “Does your bag have a ticket?”.
But the polite way avoids any nastiness.
What really annoys me is people who don’t move along, leaving the empty seat by the window (particularly in buses) – people who don’t sit down when there are empty seats generally also annoys the sh*t out of me.

This isn’t so much of a problem on a rush hour train in my opinion, or at least it’s not on the Lilydale/Belgrave lines.
The bigger issue is that people don’t understand how to move down an aisle. And several reports place the blame on the train layout, particularly the Comeng’s because if people stand in the aisles, it’s hard to move down the aisle.
But my own personal research (conducted at $0.00, unlike the Government’s expensive research reports of stuff any average commuter could tell you) shows that even on the newest X’Trapolis trains, which have the wider aisles, people still don’t like to move down the aisle. People prefer to stand near the doors.
I fail to see what’s so good about the doors, and I find it really annoying when I slide down the aisle passing people who choose not to slide down the aisle, and they give me the annoyed glare. Not my fault that they don’t have good PT etiquette standards.
BTW isn’t there a law that says being an obstruction the the proper operation of public transport is an offence? I’m surprised the tight inspectors who chase down people simply for placing their feet on the seats don’t do anything about this – maybe not a fine, but telling people to move down the aisles at the least.

“….the tight inspectors who chase down people simply for placing their feet on the seats…”

It’s simple Ronnie, you are not allowed to put your feet on the seats. You know peoples grotty shoes that have walked through gutters, dog shit, back lanes, etc.

It’s so simple.

I can understand why you can’t/shouldn’t put your feet on the seats – however, I personally believe people obstructing aisles is a bigger issue than feet on seats – particularly when people are accidentally doing it (not too sure if it was a true story, but there were many complaints in The Age last year about the unorderly conduct of AO’s).
Where are the customer service staff and the authorised officers during rush hour where there are people who simply don’t understand how to move down an aisle? (It’s not because there aren’t enough handholds on the Comeng’s, I’ve seen Hitachi’s and the new X’Traps which have tram style hand hold’s all the way down – yet people crowd at the doors)
Instead of playing the blame game, Metro should step in, and train their platform staff also to walk right up to the train, and tell people to move down the aisle. Is it really that hard if telling people off for putting their feet on seats is so easy?
Having run trains consistently behind targets now, I think it’s very simple – I’m constantly seeing people crowding at the door closest to the entrance at some stations, people not moving down aisles and holding trains up etc. Very inefficient.

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