We’re all guilty of it.
You’ve had a long day, your back is hurting, the streetcar is packed, and you just managed to snag the last available seat.
The next stop arrives, and on walks an elderly woman with five bags of groceries.
You quickly look away and out the window, hoping someone else will be kind enough to give up their seat first.
Transit in this city is something we all complain about constantly; it’s too packed, service is not frequent enough. We want more subway lines. The LRT. Keep it open 24 hours. And so on, and so on…
This constant state of dissatisfaction when it comes to Toronto’s transit causes bad moods. Especially at rush hour. And bad moods sometimes equal bad manners.
We are all guilty of it, so we could all benefit from a few reminders of what good manners look like when you’re dealing with the special frustrations public transit brings.
1. GIVE YOUR SEAT UP
This should go without saying, but we see it time and time again. The elderly and pregnant women shouldn’t have to stand on a moving vehicle. Move your butt. Don’t wait for someone else to do it.
2. YOUR BAG DOES NOT NEED A SEAT
We’ve heard some horror stories of people being asked to move their bag and being unwilling… and getting physical with people when they continue to ask them to move it. This is so unnecessary and scary – and it should never ever happen. Your bag does not need a seat. Neither does your guitar, groceries, or whatever else you might be carrying. The floor or your lap will hold it just fine.
3. MOVE TO THE BACK
Those signs on the bus and streetcars are there for a reason. There’s nothing worse than not being able to get on a streetcar because everyone decided to stand up front, just to watch it drive away and see a big empty space in the middle. Move down.
4. PAY YOUR FARE
Yes, it can sometimes seem expensive compared to other larger cities with better transit services, but it’s not going to get better if you continue to use the back doors of the streetcars or take the opportunity to not pay when the collector is away from the booth. Without the income to sustain it, the system will not improve.
5. BE NICE TO YOUR DRIVER
It takes a special kind of person to deal with thousands of disgruntled people on the TTC each and every day. Yes, we all know of a few drivers who go out of their way to drive away despite clearly seeing you running toward the car – but for every driver who does that, there is a driver who welcomes you onto the car with a joke and makes your day a little better. They deal with too many angry customers all day long; don’t be one of those people. A simple ‘thank you’ when you exit goes a long way.
6. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING AWFUL HAPPENING TO SOMEONE, HELP THEM OUT
This goes back to the story we heard about the patron who wouldn’t move his bag so another person could sit in the seat. He proceeded to get physical with the woman and no one on the very packed bus said or did anything. It is in our nature not to get involved out of fear of being the next victim, but it is disheartening to hear that no one said anything to this woman until she was off the bus.
7. DO NOT BLOCK THE COLLECTOR BOOTH FOR 10 MINUTES FIGHTING WITH A TTC EMPLOYEE
We all have places to go, and you are holding up a giant line of people who just want to show their transfer and get on the subway. Whatever you’re getting upset about, we can guarantee the employee you’re talking to has no control over it. Call the head office instead.