There are all kinds of etiquette out there – business etiquette, social, dining, golf and driving etiquette. These are codes for conducting ourselves in a manner that is courteous and demonstrates respect for ourselves and others. What about public transportation etiquette?
Our local Edmonton transit system is trying to discourage rude behavior on the buses and trains. They’ve decided to use the carrot rather than stick approach by coming up with a new etiquette campaign to encourage passengers to be “every day heroes”.
They’ve designed posters to counter the most common bus bad manners. Transit staff were asked what not-so-nice behaviors they saw most on the system and those were compiled in a list.
Some of the biggest complaints included swearing, backpacks taking up too much room, scent (the kind you buy or self-generated). Priority seating, giving up your seat for a an expectant mother was chosen for the first poster.
They used a cartoon character who looks a lot like Boris Badenov, the villain from Rocky and Bullwinkle, reading a book on evil and taking up two seats with a giant bag. Cartoons character are a popular way of targeting bad behaviors and making people smile.
Calgary transit uses different animal cartoons to promote courteous rider behaviour, like Chatty Chihuahua, who talks on his phone loudly, Disco Dog, who has his headphones on stun level, Funky Ferret who reeks, Hungry Hamster who chows down, Lounge Lizard, who takes up too many seats, Crowding Cat and Blocking Bunny.
Edmonton transit is in the process of deciding which behaviour it will target next, but the public can help by voting on who the next transit villain will be. Starting in June, people can visit Facebook.com/TakeETS to participate in a poll. The winning villain will be featured in the next ETS poster, to be launched in the fall.
My own favorite bus bad manners beef is loud cell phone talkers ala Chatty Chihuahua. (I’m often surprised how many loud cell-phone commuters are wearing business dress. I wonder what their business etiquette is like?) What’s your transit pet peeve?