Whether you love it or loathe it, public transport is fundamentally a rather handy concept. However, (yes, here's the bad bit), from time to time we come across something so infuriating, so frustrating, so ridiculous, that we wish it could be irradiated from our journeys altogether. Pen at the ready, it's time to tick off the peeves that get you riled up on public transport.
Aside from the fact headphones can leave you entangled in more trouble than a calamitous re-enactment of 'Fifty Shades of Grey', those buggers pose a second, far more infuriating issue – sound leakage. Yes, I’m talking about the pounding bass that delights your eardrums in the midst of rush hour. It's a downright irritating issue that goes hand in hand with a phenomenon known as 'phone yelling'. If we wanted to hear the best of '00s R’n’B played on full-blast – sorry Craig David, we love you really – then we’d ruddy well go to a gig, wouldn’t we?
You woke up late, we get it. Maybe you even enjoy the uneven eyeliner flicks and the harsh fluorescents of the Underground? Sure. Whatever the case may be, after elbowing a fellow passenger while applying mascara and setting clouds of loose powder free on unsuspecting commuters, turning your seat into a mobile beauty bar is something that will never go down well.
Suitcases at rush hour
They’re awkward, they’re space-wasting and their corners leave you with bruises the size of a small European principality. London may be full of tourists struggling to navigate their way off the Piccadilly line, but for the love of god, can someone please invent a concierge service specifically for luggage transportation between the hours of 5pm–7pm?
Ever had the feeling you’re being watched? You slowly turn around to see a total stranger peering over your shoulder, skim reading the front page news before quickly turning away out of sheer embarrassment. Here’s a tip: next time you find yourself in such a situation, hold your phone in front of the object of visual desire, begin a text with 'there’s this stranger breathing heavily down my neck while reading my paper' and there you have it, problem solved.
Most of us have experienced space hoggery at one point or another. It’s all about tactics with this bunch. Whether it’s giving your bag its very own seat or standing outstretched like the goalkeeper you were destined to be, this anything-goes attitude doesn’t go down well on public transport. Space is at a premium and everyone’s willing to pay for it.
If they’re bent they won’t work. If they’re nestled against your mobile phone they won’t work. If they fancy a dip in a puddle they definitely won’t work. Let’s face it, paper tickets JUST DON’T WORK. Not only do half the barriers seem so repulsed by the idea they immediately spit them back out, but there’s no longer any staff left at the stations to assist your helpless cries from beyond the barriers.
Sometimes the temptation to shimmy one's self through the three-inch crack of the closing doors is just too great to resist. We’ve all been there. You’re late for work, it’s five whole minutes until the next tube and making this train means the difference between a pre-work caffeine boost and a morning of bleary-eyed confusion. As tempting as the idea may be, please wait for the next carriage. We can’t handle any more threats from the driver to terminate the train – we're already three hours late.
Let’s not confuse this with a vendetta to eradicate children in general from public transport. Children are cute. Children are hilarious. What needs to change are the wails that radiate from these small, cute creatures, at sound levels to rival those of a jumbo jet engine. After a long day at the office, the last thing you want is a six-month-old banshee bidding for your attention.
From crabsticks on an overcrowded 106 to Whitechapel to a gourmet hamburger spread on the 17.39 from Waterloo, the pungent smell of food in an already over-heated carriage is a gag-inducing scenario. And if the smell weren’t bad enough, don’t get us started on the packaging that’s left behind…
It’s not always possible to confine your office job to your actual office – cue the geniuses who invented smartphones and portable devices. That being said, commuters have absolutely no patience for those who believe it’s perfectly acceptable to spread laptops, confidential documents (don't follow in the footsteps of the Government and leave them behind altogether) or all manner of personalised stationery across every flat surface within arms reach. Not. Cool.