Just over two weeks ago, an obviously pregnant woman had to stand on a crowded train while no one offered her a seat despite the fact of giving eye contact to some of the passengers. Just before blacking out, she asked a young woman for her seat but barely got the words out before fainting. What’s happening to our sense of basic common courtesy? Many of us can remember having it drilled into us to have the awareness to offer our seat to someone else in greater need. We were also taught to say Thank you if someone held the door for us. And many other common courtesies like these.

Why is this happening? We seem to lack situational awareness…just in our own little world oblivious to anyone around us. This has become a real concern when there are large numbers of us grouped together in massive metal conveyances going to and from work. Calgary Transit developed its own Etiquette Guide for passengers. It’s simply brilliant. I would like to comment on each of these points from the website.

Courtesy Seating. The seats towards the front of the bus should be left for those who are confined to a wheelchair and the elderly. That means that if you’re sitting in this area and someone gets on the bus who needs your seat more than you do, then get up right away and move towards the back of the bus.

Personal Audio Devices. You may love to listen to music at higher than is normal for good hearing decibels but guess what?? The passengers don’t… Turn down the music, please. Even if the music is completed muted from fellow passengers, your hearing is being impaired.

Food and Drink. Many years ago, there was no food/drink allowed on Calgary Transit. If you are eating/drinking on the bus, remember your dining manners…keep the mouth closed. Refrain from bringing overly smelly food stuff on transit. Be thoughtful of your fellow passengers. And most important, clean up and take your garbage with you including chewing gum. The floor of the bus/train isn’t a garbage can.

Cell Phones. Don’t keep the rest of the passengers hostage by engaging in long, loud conversations on the cell phone. Remember the 10 foot Rule – no talking on the phone if there’s someone within 10 feet of you.

Keep Doorways Clear. It’s very difficult for someone in a wheelchair or a parent pushing a stroller to exit out of the LRT when people just stand there and don’t move out of the way.

Backpacks, Luggage, Grocery Bags. They don’t require a seat!! Put them on the floor by your feet so they’re out of the way. If you’re standing, remove your backpack so you don’t inadvertently turn around and smack someone. Also, don’t put your feet on the seat. Your shoes could be dirty.

Personal Hygiene. Crowded buses/LRT’s at rush hour are crowded so we all appreciate basic hygiene, for example deodorant. Keep the scent/cologne to a minimum as many people may find it overpowering in close quarters.

Make Room for Others. Don’t make the driver yell at everyone to move and make room. Like Nike says, “Just do it”. When I just to take public transit, it drove me crazy to see a bus with half the aisle empty towards the back because no one would MOVE!!! Of course, the bus would drive off without me!!

Smoking. I realize that smoking isn’t permitted on the bus. But can’t you clean up the cigarette butts left behind at the bus stop? Let’s show some respect for public property so we can wait for the bus in a fairly clean shelter. If someone is waiting with you, ask their permission first, before lighting up. It’s just being mannerly!!

If you want your teen to have good civility while traveling on the bus/LRT, sign them up for Etiquette Classes in May. I’ll be covering this material at great length!!

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