The 40 Worst Commuter Habits (and why they should be banned)!

What irritates you most about your commute? The bag-on-the-seat trick? The chatterbox who just won't leave you alone? The wannabe-DJ subjecting you to the thump,thump,thump of his music? Some commuters seem to take pleasure in being rude - are you one of them?

June 20, 2023

Most people will have to commute on public transport at some point during their working lives, whether by train, tram or (goodness forbid) the bus.

Normal folks will keep their heads down and wish away those tiresome journeys whilst reading a book, playing 'Candy Crush' or checking Facebook.

(If you've never had to commute, just count yourself lucky).

Others, however, appear to have been sent to test their fellow commuters and the boundaries of social etiquette (just as some horrible colleagues are sent to test us with annoying office habits).

If you're committing ANY of the common commuter crimes listed below - shame on you - and please, please for the sake of your fellow passengers, CEASE!

Basic Etiquette.

Habit 1: Putting your bag (or other item) up on the chair.

Thoughts: (Other than 'what the f**k...') What exactly do you think will happen if I sit next to you? If I wanted to hurt you, that bag wouldn't make a blind bit of difference, believe me.

Habit 2: Getting on, before everyone has gotten off.

Thoughts: You are breaking a very strict and very logical (unwritten) rule of commuting. Why so eager? The train is NOT going to leave in the next 5 seconds.

Habit 3: Refusing (or trying hard not) to let people get past.

Thoughts: What on earth are you tutting/glaring at? This is my stop... therefore I MUST get past you. We can do this the easy way, or the hard way...

Habit 4: Not moving down the aisle on a busy bus/train/tram.

Thoughts: Are you enjoying this? Do I really have to be that person who shouts at you to move down?

Habit 5: Reading over someone's shoulder.

Thoughts: You could pick up your own Metro - for free - of course, that would mean that you'd have to stop making me feel unbearably uncomfortable and where's the fun in that?

Habit 6: Not giving up your seat when others clearly need it.

Thoughts: You are a bad person. Yes - I will glare at you until you feel guilty and move. Watch out for karma, my friend.

Lack of Spacial Awareness.

Habit 7: Sitting next to someone, despite a multitude of other free seats.

Thoughts: I'm the only person on the bus, literally ALL of the other seats are free, yet you sit next to me. I am immediately suspicious "please don't talk to me, please don't talk to me, please don't..."

Habit 8: Chatting to fellow commuters.

Thoughts: It's too early for this... *nodding politely* ...PLEASE be getting off at the next station!

Habit 9: Getting too close to other commuters in general.

Thoughts: I know it's busy, but is it really necessary for you to be clinging onto my shoulder? I can smell last night's French onion soup on your breath... I wish that other idiot would move up the aisle.

Habit 10: Falling asleep on a fellow commuter.

Thoughts: This is unacceptable! What do I do? Just...slowly...nudge... Oh crap, she's awake. Act natural.


Habit 11: Playing music too loudly through earphones.

Thoughts: I know, you’re probably just trying to shut off from all the other weirdos and annoyances on the commute, but in doing so, you are subjecting me to one whole hour of ‘thud, thud, thud.’ Just turn it down and nobody needs to get hurt...

Habit 12: Playing music through speakers.

Thoughts: Why? You don't look 'hard' - in fact you're actually very weedy. Your music taste is abysmal (more thud, thud, thud) so it can't be that either... The mind boggles.

Habit 13: Typing VERY LOUDLY on your laptop.

Thoughts: Why are you so excited? Angry? Agitated?

Habit 14: Leaving your telephone on loud.

Thoughts: "PING- click click click click click click - PING - click click click click click click..." I wish whoever it is would stop replying.

Habit 15: Repeating "I'm on the train" down the phone over and over again.

Thoughts: Are you... are you really? How about...instead of informing the entire carriage, you tell your pal that you're 'getting on the train' BEFORE you get on and lose all signal! Not just a hat rack.

Habit 16: Noisily munching on food.

Thoughts: If you slurp, crunch and slobber that much in front of strangers...I wonder what you're like in the comfort of your own home! *Shudders*

Habit 17: Constantly Sniffling (and worse).

Thoughts: Great. I'm going to get ill...again.

Habit 18: Humming or Singing.

Thoughts: Step away from the weirdo...

Habit 19: Talking loudly on the telephone.

Thoughts: I really don't care what Stacey said that Jen said that Michael said about Jon. Oh wait - now I'm hooked. What happened? Was Michael mad?

Habit 20: Noisily chatting.

Thoughts: I really don't care what Jon said that Michael said that Jen said about Stacey. Oh wait - now I'm hooked. What happened? Was Jen mad?

Inexperienced Commuters

Habit 21: Standing on the left hand side of the escalator, blocking the exit.

Thoughts: I only have 5 minutes to get to the furthest away possible platform and make my next train - please would you kindly move out of my way (or I will be forced to take action).

Habit 22: Wearing a ridiculously HUGE backpack.

Thoughts: So... I guess you didn't feel the impact as you smashed me and three others across the face?

Habit 23: Not being ready to pay the bus driver.

Thoughts: Seriously? You took all that effort to get to the front of the queue (with a couple of barges along the way) but didn't bother to get your change out to pay the driver..? Shame on you.

Habit 24: Not being ready for the ticket barriers.

Thoughts: I've had my ticket out since the start of the journey! Now please move out of the way, move out of the way, move out of the way...

Habit 25: Generally being too eager (a personal pet peeve of mine).

Thoughts: WHY do you have to get up (and thus make me get up) a whole ten minutes before your stop? I'm getting off there too, but I'd like to read a little more of my book first!

Habit 26: Taking forever to put luggage in the overhead holders, blocking the aisle.

Thoughts: No seats left by the time you've FINALLY let me through - cheers.


Habit 27: Eating stinky food.

Thoughts: Salmon? Really? In this tighter-than-tight space? You demon.

Habit 28: Eating food that smells amazing.

Thoughts: Fish and chips on the train - really? I'm so hungry I'm actually considering asking you for a chip.

Habit 29: General human smells.

Thoughts: Everyone sweats. I know. But if you're more sweaty than your average bear, you should shower before work (and definitely before getting on this packed, hot and stuffy train).

Habit 30: Spraying perfume, deodorant or hairspray.

Thoughts: Excuse me while I just choke on your fumes...

Breaking the Rules.

Habit 31: Sitting in someone else's reserved seat.

Thoughts: Don't nick my reserved seat and then get all arsey when I ask you to move... book in advance pal.

Habit 32: Not sitting in your reserved seat.

Thoughts: While you're chilling in that normal seat, having ignored your ticket stipulations, I've been forced to sit nervously in your reserved one, just waiting for someone to appear and ask me to move!

Habit 33: Ignoring the 'quiet zone' signs.

Thoughts: Shhhhh.... this is a Q.U.I.E.T zone. No singing, no talking on the phone, no screaming children, no nothing. There are plenty of other carriages where you can irritate others at your pleasure.


Habit 34: Being obviously drunk on the train.

Thoughts: I am trying SO hard not to catch eyes with you right now, for fear of facing a drunken slur of abuse! No - I don't want to be your best friend either.

Habit 35: Smoking on the train.

Thoughts: That's OK, you just shave a few years off my life by forcing me to inhale your polluted air... you are literally assaulting my body!

Habit 36: Kicking the back of the seat.

Thoughts: WHY? How tall are you and what on earth are you doing back there?

Habit 37: Putting your feet up on the seats.

Thoughts: You're worse than the bag people.

Habit 38: Littering.

Thoughts: From the look of your seat, you must have had a great lunch... There seem to be scraps of MacDonald's, sausage roll, some sort of milkshake substance... oh and chewing gum for desert. Fantastic.

Habit 39: Ringing the bus bell 20,000 times.

Thoughts: What is wrong with you? The sign says 'stopping!' Oh wait, you're just trying to annoy me... you're not even getting off? Fabulous.

Habit 40: Taking photos of other people.

Thoughts: Do people actually do this? Apparently so... I genuinely wouldn't know how to react!

Are YOU Irritating Your Fellow Commuters?

Let's be honest, we've all probably been guilty of doing one of the above commuter habits at some point in our lives.

So next time you feel like pulling your hair out and screaming at a fellow passenger, take a deep breath and remember, we're all in this together...

...and if that doesn't work - go right ahead, give in to the dark side - you don't really have to see them again (except every day on your way to work)!

Recruiter Pro Tip. The best way to combat those commuter blues (they really exist) is to use your time wisely; think of each journey as the perfect opportunity to do something productive. Read a book, learn a new language, write your to-do list for the day; whatever helps you to switch off, whilst getting stuff done. This HubSpot article has some great tips on how to make your commute more productive.

Alternatively, you could always quit and look for a new job? (We've got heaps of tips on how to do that)!

Or even try moving to a more accessible area like Barcelona... Did you hear about this professional who discovered that commuting from Barcelona would be cheaper than living in London?

Getting home to sun, sea and sangria would certainly be worth the journey!

Happy Friday and have a lovely weekend!

Coburg Banks - Multi-Sector Recruitment Agency
We help great people get brilliant jobs in top companies.