10 ways to really rile a commuter
For most of us, the commute to and from work can be fraught with annoyances and little (or big) irritations. Whether you go by car, by bus, by train or by bike, there is always some idiot out to make your day begin in the very worst way.
According to a UK surveys published in The Guardian, the average worker spends 2 hours commuting every day. That’s a lot of time to get really annoyed by the close proximity of other people. And although Which? recently conducted a UK survey about the most common commuter complaints, high fares, delayed transport and signal failures weren’t the worst things I have experienced en route to the office. Here are my top (or bottom?) ten ways to get your working day off to a VERY bad start:
1. Invading of personal space. Jeremy Corbyn had a bit of an experience of this recently (or did he?), when an over-crowded train forces to you sit on the floor. I have to admit, a bit of dirty floor would be a welcome alternative to some of the over-crowding consequences many have to experience. Being so rammed in that your arms can’t be moved is a horrible experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Especially in summer. With someone’s armpit in your face. Not nice.
2. The toilets. Surely this would top any UK survey of awfulness. Frankly, a hole in the carriage floor would be a better solution. Often these bacteria-infested urine pits smell so bad you can get a whiff of it from 2 carriages down. But even worse than grimy, soap-avoiding cubicles…
3. Toilets that charge you at stations. Seriously? 30p for a wee? I don’t think I am alone to stay in there for at least 20 minutes doing my hair and blowing my nose, just to make the most out of my money.
4. Touching. Just because I am sitting next to you, doesn’t mean you are allowed to touch me. Why can’t some passengers keep their knees together, so that they don’t have to rest them on my leg? Which brings me onto number 5…
5. Bad breath. It’s unforgivable to not brush your teeth in the morning. Especially when you are going to share a crowded space with other people who have. It’s even worse when someone is on their phone, minus the Colgate, and huffing away loudly during their uninteresting conversation. Personally, I think there should be free mints given out with every ticket.
6. Too much talking. I am one of those people who just attract odd-balls. I usually get people asking me about the weather, my book, or offering me a finger of their KitKat. I don’t mind it too much, but I do draw the line at unwanted advances before 9am. I know my old commute required walking through the edge of a red light district, but offering me only £5 for an unspeakable act at 8am is just plain rude. It’s not even minimum wage!
7. Ignoring the Highway Code. I know plenty of people who have regular near misses when someone chooses to ignore the rules of the road simply because it’s rush hour. It’s no excuse. I almost came unstuck recently when I bellowed out the car window at a man who had apparently chosen to park on a busy roundabout near my office. Unfortunately it looked rather like my boss, so I had to do another loop around the block before going in. Embarrassing, yes, but avoidable if he had just obeyed the Highway Code in the first place.
8. Steamy spaces. I’m sure there is a clever scientific reason for this, but buses that steam up when there is the slightest bit of rain really are nasty. We all know we have to share our air with everyone on there, but actually SEEING it in action is a different matter entirely. Can someone please invent a bus de-mister to stop us all from feeling ill?
9. Flinging doors open randomly. Now, this is dangerous to pedestrians, cyclists and all other road users. You don’t need a UK survey to tell you that. Why do people not check before they throw the door open of their car? This happened to me recently when I was driving, so thank goodness it wasn’t someone passing on a bike. Admittedly, finding another dent in my car is rather like discovering a new crater on the moon, but it still made me really cross.
10. Not sharing. There was a man who used to get the same train as me, who always took a full bottle of wine to drink on the way home. He always had two plastic cups, but never offered me any. I thought after 4 years and some annoying leg touching I had earned this, but it turns out I hadn’t. Sadly, the best I’ve ever been offered was someone’s lap to sit on. Disturbing does not even come close.
There are plenty more to add to this list. Including people who keep their bags on the seat. Or people who have a loud ring on their phone and take an age to answer whilst we are all listening to a muzak version of Harry Potter. Or those who talk loudly on their phones about their recent colonic irrigation, whilst you’re trying to enjoy a chocolate brownie. Grhmph, it makes me mad even thinking about it! Bring on hover boards and teleporting, I say!
What’s your most irritating commuter experience? Had a run-in with a fellow passenger, or got a travel gripe you’d like to get off your chest? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and don’t forget to have your say in our latest paid UK surveys at Opinion Outpost UK. Where you can earn extra money online, at home or when you’re braving public transport on the way to work!