Bad Manners on Public Transport: How to Catch a Sydney Train

Public transport: I get it every day and it sucks. I live in the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia. No one can deny how gloriously beautiful Sydney is – but I have one bugbear that I’d like to rant about today.

Sydney trains

No one likes catching the train to work. If I had my choice, I would be driven in a white Maserati by Clive Owen every day. Sadly, I’m stuck on the train. I don’t have to go far, but the three stops I make each morning are usually the low point of my day. Why? Well people are rude. Almost being like stuck in peak hour on the road – there is a public transport peak hour too. People can be pushy, grumpy and rude. And I have noticed there are a few simple rules that people are breaking that they should not be.

clive owen

I am not Queen of the Universe

But I still think that good manners are important. I sometimes display very poor manners myself, and I have been known to be pushy during my morning commute too. I am going o try to move more slowly this week and to try to be more polite and considerate.

And you can’t use your iphone on a Sydney train. Pfft!

According to my local rag, the Sydney Morning Herald: As of last week, train passengers are able to make calls, send texts and browse the web while hurtling through tunnels in the City Circle after one of the big phone companies completed a multi-million-dollar project to provide coverage in one of Sydney’s annoying blackspots.

I hate the blackspots I come across. When a Sydney train goes into a tunnel, you lose all reception on your phone. It drives people crazy.

sydney train

It’s not just me who is annoyed

I love trawling the web for grumpy reviews. Here is one from Danielle of New South Wales on Yelp: The other thing I want to add was the state of the trains – Graffiti everywhere…. it would give a tourist the impression that public transport is just designed for people who belong to street gangs! Not cool Sydney, not cool!!! If you’re gonna charge people $15.80 to be a passenger – can we at least give tourists a false impression that our transport is super modern and clean…. I was embarrassed and want to apologies to any tourist who gets this as this first impression.

So what are my suggestions?

1. Stand to the left on the escalator. There is a walking line and a standing line. Do not stand ion the walking line or you block traffic. Do not stand at all unless you are old, infirm, pregnant or a holding the hand of a child. Get your legs moving, Sydney!

2. Don’t stop walking when you reach the top of the escalator as you will cause a traffic jam

3. Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze

4. DO NOT cough and sneeze loudly -– it’s so gross when some dude sneezes at the top of his voice on the train. It scares the hell out of people. Manners, please. Be as quiet as you can be.

5. Turn your headphones down. I don’t want to hear you listening to Taylor Swift

6. Stand to the left – again. I cannot stress this enough

7. Move RIGHT INSIDE the carriage – otherwise other people can’t get on the train

8. Do not eat smelly food on the train – ok I do this all the time. But I should not, because it’s gross and it bothers people.


9. To not kiss your partner in front of me – look, I’m all for romance, but it’s just a bit gross on the train. Can’t you wait until you get off? Think of those of us who may be heartbroken.

10. Make sure your kids sit still. Do not let them climb all over the place – I like kids but they need to be taught how to behave on public transport. Your kids should be your responsibility so do not let them infringe on my space please.

11. Have your ticket out, ready to put in the ticket machine – don’t fumble in your pocket or purse – plan your next move and keep us all moving quickly.

12. If you can’t find your ticket, stand to the side until you can – nobrainer.

13. Stand to the left – again. Stand to the freaking left.

14. If you have a big suitcase, take the lift – don’t block the escalator. I don’t care if you think you are Mr. Muscles. If your stroller, trolley or suitcase is going to block the escalator – take the lift.

15. Stand to the left – please. Please stand to the left.

(Photo by herbrm: thanks!)

Ok rant over. What are your pet peeves on public transport?



3 thoughts on “Bad Manners on Public Transport: How to Catch a Sydney Train

  1. Well said. I read this two minutes after asking a lady on the Rose Bay ferry to silence her noisy retro space invaders game, it took me a few attempts because she was also wired to her iPhone!

    • Thanks David!

      I no longer have a car, so I don’t “road rage” people, but I “public transport rage” people when they don’t stand to the left. However, I try to be nice. Lots of people simply don’t know the rules (and some are unspoken!) so I try to keep my grump-o-meter to level 5 or 6 at a maximum.

      Have a great day, David.


  2. Great article.

    Most of it is common sense that doesn’t seem to be so common anymore.

    What about;
    – No talking on your phone. No one else wants to (or needs to) hear it.
    – No loud conversations with your friends.
    – Don’t take a seat next to somebody else if there are plenty of free seats.
    – Linked with the smelly food rule – Don’t take public transport if you reek of BO.
    – If you accidently sit on someone make sure to apologise and don’t just ignore them (this has happened to me 3 times. Not sure why, but each time it has been an obese person.

    In regards to a few of your points;
    4) I can’t control when or how loud I sneeze, what should I do?
    9) I can’t see an issue with kissing. If it makes others feel insecure or unloved that’s an issue they need to deal with.


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