Whether you're an American, Brit, Continental European or something else entirely, there are shared rules of social etiquette between you. At least, there should be. Unfortunately, many of you appear to have missed the memo regarding behavior and public transport, so I've compiled a short list of things you should and shouldn't do whilst on a public bus. Some of these are similar to how one ought to behave on a subway, tram or train, but there are a few differences. The following tips should give you an idea of what normal behavior on a public bus ought to be, and if you're not able to conform -- please don't ride the bus.
Rule #6: Be quiet.
I often hear groups of loud Americans traveling on the bus from the airport to the subway station. Guess what? It's annoying, and nobody cares about, like, your analysis of the last episode of 24.
Rule #7: Respect personal space.
There is no need to sit on someone's lap if there are only two of you on the bus. If you need a map to find an empty seat, something is wrong with you!
Rule #8: Your luggage doesn't need its own seat.
I get really ticked when people get on the bus and put a suitcase on the seat next to them. If you can't get your bags under your seat or hold them in your lap, you need to use another method of transportation. It's RUDE to make someone stand so your Samsonite can take up a chair.
Rule #9: Don't close windows unless it's cold or raining.
If it's summer time and 90 degrees outside, believe me when I tell you that no one cares about your hairstyle, and whether or not the wind is going to mess it up. If you don't want to sit near an open window, move somewhere else.
Rule #10: Don't litter.
Most people in Europe are pretty good about cleaning up after themselves, but you will occasionally see tourists leaving trash on their seats or on the floor. Would you do that at home? Pick up after yourself.
Rule #1: No pushing your way onto the bus.
It always amazes me when I see a fully empty bus pull up to a group of 20 people, and nearly all of those people push and shove their way onto the bus, as though 80 seats might not be enough for them and someone might have to stand. And even if you do have to stand, you don't have to push your way onto the bus. It's rude and makes you look like a prat.
Rule #2: Get up for old people, male or female.
I get very annoyed when I see teenagers or 30 somethings sitting comfortably while a senior citizen clasps the rail in the hope of not falling down. And then there are those who think the men should be ok to stand, even though the poor guy's got a bad hip and arm braces. Here's the deal -- if you're not physically handicapped, you need to get the hell up when anyone over 55 is standing. If they refuse the offer, that's fine; but you need to offer.
Rule #3: Get up for pregnant women
She may be younger than 55, but a 7 month pregnant woman will probably be better off sitting down for a number of reasons. Even if she looks comfortable on her feet, she doesn't need to be jostled all over the place as the bus moves. So get up for her.
Rule #4: Get up for small children.
Even if a kid is big enough to walk, they're not necessarily big enough to stay upright if the bus stops quickly. Get up for children. And if they were brought up well, the person next to you will get up for the mother, too.
Rule #5: Wear deodorant.
This is rather important, and you're likely to annoy everyone in close proximity if you don't. If, for some reason, you can't wear deodorant, make sure you get a seat and don't wind up holding the railing with your armpit in someone's face -- cos if it's my face, my vomit might end up on your shoes.