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Commuter Etiquette 101

Are you violating the basic rules of commuting? Follow Modern Manners Guy's 3 tips for a more mannerly commute.

By
Richie Frieman,
December 19, 2012

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Commuter Etiquette 101

Regardless of where you work or what you do, you probably have some sort of commute to your workplace. Whether it's a 10 block walk, a 20 mile drive, or even an hour on the train—commuting to and from work is a part of life that we all have to deal with.

My commute is fairly easy—a 20 minute drive in the comfort of my car, coffee in hand, early in the morning to avoid major traffic, and for the most part only rare hiccups along the way. However, in my previous jobs, I’ve had to suffer through much longer commutes, especially on the train (subway and rail) and I’ve seen behavior that made me want to click my heels together and be back in my cozy, warm car. Turns out, I'm not alone. 

Many Modern Manners Guy readers and listeners have emailed me about this exact issue. Glad to see I'm in good company. Well, let's just say "misery loves company" and I’m glad to have many other miserable people to join me.  So without further ado, here are my top 3 tips on how to avoid improper commuter etiquette:

Improper Commuter Etiquette #1: The Seat Is Not Your Bed

Here's the deal, folks, I don't care if that seat is the single most comfortable piece of furniture your body touches all day, it is not yours. You don't own it. You're not even renting it. You're only temporarily using it, at most. So, that seat is not your bed, and certainly not a testing area for your bodily functions.

See also: Is This Seat Taken?

One reader recently emailed me that a fellow commuter took off his shirt to sleep more comfortably on the subway. Granted, he had a "work tank top" underneath, but this man allowed his entire upper body to lounge free as a bird all over the seat as if he was sleeping on his home sofa. Sure, you can catch up on some Z's while you’re commuting, but do not actually treat it as if you were home taking a nap. Leave your clothes on, people! And if you are next to a person who is publicly disrobing, and their flesh is intruding into your space, you are allowed to wake them. Kindly tap their arm and ask if they wouldn't mind putting their shirt back on. If they refuse, then get the heck out of dodge because lord knows what will come off next. 

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