Every year during the NBA playoffs, my thoughts turn to fouls — and not just the kind that take place on the court. There’s something about spring that causes a higher incidence of bus fouls—or at least a heightened awareness of them on my part. Or maybe it’s just my hay fever making me cranky.
At any rate, here’s the third installment of “what not to do on the bus.” (For previous installments, see these issues: 4/19/06 and 7/26/06.)
• Failing to move to the back of a standing-room-only bus. I regularly ride buses that turn passengers away—not because there isn’t enough room, but because the driver thinks there isn’t enough room, due to the highly annoying habit some bus riders have of staying put in a half-empty aisle. If the bus is crowded, and folks are working to find standing room in the front, please, please, please make sure you move back as far as you can. If you’re at the end of the line, move all the way back. I promise, no one will bite you. Despite the back’s reputation as the bad kids’ hangout, it’s usually pretty tame on a packed ride; folks tend to behave themselves in front of an audience.
• Failing to move to the inside seat. An unwritten rule of bus riding: The first person in a seat takes the window. This is not just because the window is preferred by the majority of riders; it’s because it’s the most efficient way to board. If you’re an outside-sitter and the bus starts to fill up, move over. Don’t make a fellow passenger ask you to move over, and please don’t hold up aisle traffic by standing up to let that person take the seat you don’t want. If you like the outside because you prefer to get off without the obligatory “pardon me,” sit in one of the sideways seats.
• Not owning up to a “false ring.” If you ring the bell too early, it’s tempting to sit silently and hope no one knows it was you. But if you do that, the driver will wait at the stop trying to figure out who wanted off, holding the rest of the passengers hostage in the process. Next time, instead of shrinking into your seat, just call out, “Sorry! Next stop!” and all will be forgiven. Or, you could wait for the driver to get frustrated and move on, and hope you’re not the only one who needs the next stop.
• Emitting toxic fumes. Let’s face it: An enclosed space that contains 30-plus people with vastly varying hygiene habits can’t be expected to smell like Ravenna Gardens, but we can all do our part to keep it from smelling like a sewer. Pretend you’re on a date with your dream bus chick/nerd, and hold it in.
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