We’ve all done it... Crunched on some chips on the way home after a long day. Watched that YouTube video when we forgot our headphones. Maybe “accidentally” placed our bag on the seat next to us and then avoided eye contact with other riders at all cost. There are spoken and unspoken rules of the ride. We asked riders and MTS employees to give us their biggest do’s and don’ts when riding transit, then compiled those 200 responses into this Respect the Ride Etiquette Guide.
Read on for some reminders about best tips and a few personal accounts!
MTS Rider Etiquette Guide
Be Mindful of Volume
This isn’t a library but... Riders really appreciate when other riders are mindful of their volume on board. Think: loud conversations (with another rider or on the phone), and especially listening to music or videos without headphones! Other riders’ volume was *the* number one rider identified way that you can help Respect the Ride (and number two for operators as well). So remember, headphones in when you’re on board, headphones off when you on the platform (for safety reasons).
Winner: Volume on board is the top rider complaint! 60% of riders listed either loud music or loud phone conversations as a top complaint.
Don’t Be a Blockhead
Save priority seats for those who need them. ICYMI, those little blue signs above seats closest to the doors on buses and Trolleys are marked at ‘Priority Seating’ for seniors and riders with disabilities. We know it’s easier to just take the first open seat you find, but please, a.) don’t sit there if it isn’t reserved for you, and b.) move if another rider needs those seats (preferably without being asked!).
“Love to see young people offering seats to older riders on crowded transit.”
- Anonymous Rider
Have Your Fare Ready
Our operators really want you to hear this one (it was their number 1 “do” to Respect the Ride): please have your fare ready before you board. Keeping services on schedule is important to all of us, and having your fare ready is one of the best and easiest ways you can help keep your fellow riders happy (and moving).
Bonus Employee Tip: Be visible and next to a bus stop. To help avoid being passed by, please make sure you are waiting at the actual stop itself, and give the operator a little wave or make eye contact to let them know you’re waiting for that route.
Take Your Trash with You
If you need the reminder, we’re not your parents. Please clean up after yourself. Trash cans are available at all Trolley stations, and attached to bus shelters. Psst – aside from being a courtesy thing, trash left out at stations and bus stops can make its way into the sewer system, making an environmental fail too!)
Don’t Ride Jam Packed
Be mindful of personal space. Cue “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by the Police. Look, we get it, there’s not always going to be the opportunity to spread out on board, especially when it’s rush hour. But, if it’s an option, give your fellow riders some room to breathe, would ya?
Don’t Be a Seat Hog
Keep your belongings and yourself to one seat. Even though riders don’t want to sit jam packed, we also shouldn’t be a seat hog. Taking up an otherwise free seat with your bag, purse, groceries or worse your feet is a big no-no for MTS riders.
Avoid Eating or Drinking On Vehicles
Slurp, Munch, Crunch, Smack. (Gag!) Anyone else hate hearing other people eat? Apparently, yes! We know it can be tough when you’re on the go, but please avoid eating on vehicles. And if you have a drink, make sure it has a lid. It’s not just about the smells and sounds either, food wrappers and plastic cups or bottles can litter our vehicles, making the space less inviting for the next rider.
“I saw a man eat a rotisserie chicken with his bare hands on the Trolley. Every time the doors would open, he would throw the bones across the aisle and out the door. What a guy!”
- Rider Maya
Beware of Blocking Aisles
Carts, strollers, bikes, legs, bags and… golf clubs? Whatever it is you have on board with you, be mindful that you aren’t blocking other riders from moving freely throughout the bus or Trolley. Keep aisles clear.
Bonus Employee Tip: Sit down as soon as possible after boarding the bus. It’s one way to help keep the bus moving on time, and to keep you and other riders safe.
Let Riders Exit Before You Board
Speaking of blocking… it’s useful in football, not so much on public transit. Don’t be a hurdle - let riders exit the Trolley before you board (nobody wants to miss their stop or transfer). If using the bus, please exit the rear door when able.
When All Else Fails, Be Kind
Perhaps the easiest way to sum up what we heard would be to follow the Golden Rule and treat others the way you would want to be treated. Nearly half of the Respect the Ride survey participants kept it simple: Be kind to riders. And be kind to Trolley and bus operators, too.
“You don’t know what someone is going through before they come to the bus or even after they leave the bus what they could be facing so have compassion for others.”
- Operator Veronica M.