A group of people waiting at a tram stop as a tram pulls up.
Photograph: Shutterstock

32 ways to not be a dick on Melbourne public transport

Thou shalt not lean on the stop button

Rebecca Russo

For those of us who ride public transport every day, we’ve all come to think of it much like going to the dentist. We don’t enjoy it, but we appreciate its necessity. So don’t make commuting worse for others by being inconsiderate, gross or loud. 

There are things all good commuters in Melbourne should know – these are the most important:

  1. Let other people off before you try to get on.
  2. And if you're close to the door, get off the train and stand to the side while people behind you get off.
  3. Please take off your backpack when it's crowded. You're basically taking up the space of two people.
  4. If you get on the train with your phone brightness up high, expect other people to peer over your shoulder and read it. 
  5. Don't sneeze on your hand and then hold onto the communal pole. Come on, people.
  6. Stand on the left and walk on the right on an escalator.
  7. And if you're walking up on the right, make sure you know what you've gotten yourself into (especially at Parliament station – those escalators are longer than you think so be prepared to get a little out of breath). 
  8. Respect your drivers.
  9. Please consider wearing a mask if you've got the sniffles.
  10. Wear headphones. No one else cares what TikTok you're watching.
  11. Talk in quiet voices.
  12. Have your Myki ready when touching on or off – don't crowd the machines.
  13. You don't have to touch off on trams.
  14. Once again, you do not have to touch off on trams (you can, but seriously, it's not worth the effort – or the death stares). 
  15. Help people with prams (especially if you're on an old-school tram with stairs).
  16. Be considerate with your snacking. 
  17. Don't litter (we should not even have to say this one). 
  18. Stand up for the elderly, pregnant and people with disabilities. This should be a given. 
  19. If you're sitting down, don't avoid eye contact with standing people. Someone might need your seat and is too proud to ask for it.
  20. Sit closest to the window, or move down when you see it getting busy. No one likes having to squeeze past your knees.
  21. Don't man-spread.
  22. Don't put your bag(s) on empty seats unless the vehicle is empty. They belong on your lap or on the floor.
  23. If someone is in a rush, be considerate and let them touch on at the Myki gate before you touch off to leave the train station.
  24. Don't lean your whole body on the pole. Other people need it to hold on, too. 
  25. Don't lean on people when it's packed. If it's unavoidable, look away – eye contact at this point is just plain creepy.
  26. Don't be rude to tourists. Or anyone, really.
  27. When the announcement comes that the train is not going through the loop, don't freak out: you'll be able to get off at Richmond. 
  28. Get off the freakin' step. Everyone knows the tram doors can't close with you there.
  29. Don't cut in front of people just as they're going through the Myki barriers.
  30. If it's packed and there are five people holding onto one pole, it should be a given that tall people should hold up the top. Let the smaller people have the lower spots.
  31. Move down the damn carriage. You will be able to get off when you need to – it's fine. 
  32. If you hear the tram buzzer going off repeatedly, make sure you're not accidentally leaning on the button.

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