Top 10 Ways To Act Like A Self-Centred Jerk On Public Transport

Top 10 Ways To Act Like A Self-Centred Jerk On Public Transport

Forced to use public transport? Maximise the pleasure of the experience by ruining it for everyone else. Follow these 10 tips and you’ll be well on your way.

Picture: Stilgherrian

10. Don’t stand on the left on escalators

It doesn’t matter to you if someone is racing to catch a train and avoid missing a connection. Not your problem. Honestly, who reads those ‘Keep left’ signs anyway?

9. Put your wet umbrella on the seat

Too much hassle to take a plastic bag with you, obviously. And your brolly deserves a seat of its own. Paying passengers? Pffft!

8. Barge straight onto the train when it comes in

People getting off the train are just going to have to fend for themselves. Life is tough.

7. Don’t get your ticket or smartcard out until you reach the barrier

Sure, you were standing in a queue doing nothing, but it’s not your job to speed up the process or think of others.

6. Don’t move inside the carriage

That vestibule is yours. Forgot the next 20 people behind you.

5. Listen to music at ear-shattering volume

Everyone else should be able to hear Creed along with you. Really, they should be paying you for the entertainment.

4. Take forever to pay for your ticket

If the people behind you miss their service, so be it. That price is a rip-off and if you yell at the ticket guy long enough, he’ll change it.

3. Chat on your mobile in a designated quiet carriage

You are the exception to the rule, clearly, because your call is vitally important.

2. Pay for your bus ticket with a $50 note

It’s legal tender, after all. (For bonus points, complain loudly when you’re not allowed on a prepay bus service.)

1. Don’t use public transport and then complain loudly that your taxes pay for it and it doesn’t make a profit

Taxes are meant to pay for roads, not trains, apparently. But only the roads you use.

This post is part of our Evil Week series at Lifehacker, where we look at the dark side of getting things done. Knowing evil means knowing how to beat it, so you can use your sinister powers for good. Want more? Check out our evil week tag page.


  • In Melbourne, its best to stand on the left of the escalator and leave the right free for people to walk through. So if you want to be a jerk, stand on the right

    • Yeah, this. In Melbourne we keep to the left and allow people to pass on the right (if you have manners, that is).
      My fiance can be really terrible for leaving people room to pass, but i’d rather have her yell at me for ‘treating her like a child’ for telling her to move than have anyone inconvenienced because we all know how much it can such to miss your train.

      In shopping centres, i must admit, i don’t adhere as strictly to the rules, however. There isn’t the same sense of urgency and they are usually clogged with families anyway.

    • I think that’s what Angus meant. The whole point of the article is how to be a jerk. By not standing on the left, you are either walking, or standing on the right. It’s poorly worded.

      • how odd, because they drive on the same side as us. Keep left makes more sense because its the same as the road rule “Keep Left Unless Overtaking”, which is essentially what you are doing when walking on the right.

        • Yeah I wondered about that when I was there, but then I realised that everyone on the continent, and in fact most other countries drive on the right, so I think if they told people (many of whom don’t speak English) to stand on the left it would just lead to blockages.

      • That article says “but if you stand in the way of a London commuter they’ll soon let you know!”.

        Jeez, how inviting. Makes me want to go to London right now!

  • On our way home from Melbourne one night our train struck and killed a man. While we were waiting, two goths (self proclaimed) started listening to rap music at full tilt on their phone, while constantly harassing the conductor, who was busy relaying messages to other staff, about what was happening (“What happened? Did we kill a dude? We did, didn’t we? We wanna know if he’s dead. When are we moving again?”). In the end the conductor said “Yes, we stuck a man. Are you happy now?!” and stormed off.

    They just carried on talking loud and listening to music.

    Now THAT’S how you ruin a commute for everyone.

  • “3. Chat on your mobile in a quiet carriage”

    i don’t see how this is a problem, unless the person is being obnoxious. Or does there exist a train carriage that is designated specifically as a quiet-zone?

    • Or does there exist a train carriage that is designated specifically as a quiet-zone?

      I think that’s what he’s talking about. I’m not sure why people are so bothered by noise on the train though. Sure it’s obnoxious but it only matters if you’re trying to have a conversation which I’d assume a quiet carriage would be against anyway. Obviously you should listen to your music through headphones but it’s not like we’re all sitting down to watch a movie.

    • In Brisbane we have ‘Quiet Carriages’ on our trains. They’re clearly signposted on the side of the doors as you get on as well as stickers on the windows inside. 2nd & 5th carriages on a 6-car train, middle (2nd) carriage on a 3-car train.

      It’s an all-or-nothing thing. If everyone’s talking, it’s easy to tune out the sound around you as background noise. But if everyone’s quiet except for one or two people, you can’t help but listen to the conversation/music, try as you might to ignore it.

      But I don’t get how people can feel comfortable carrying on a loud conversation in a packed but silent carriage when they’re clearly the only ones talking.

        • Oh my! Isn’t that so much fun, I figuratively giggled thinking about the cranky lady who’s convsersation included what to have for dinner.

          When I asked if I was invited and was told “No!”, Immediately begged the question “Well why share EVERY single detail with the entire carriage, Now some of us are hungry!”.

    • Have you seen the episode of Breaking Bad where Walt destroys that yuppie’s car because he was talking loudly in the bank or wherever he was? Put the metal part of the windscreen squeegee between the contacts of the battery and the car caught fire.

      I think that’s what they’re more talking about.

  • You forgot two:
    – Sit down on the station stairs while people are trying to get to the platform. I’m always mildly tempted to “accidentally” sideswipe somebody doing this with my bag, but have not so far given in to temptation.
    – Stop and wait immediately at the end of the station stairs or ramp, so that nobody can get past you to stand next to the platform.

    I’m especially surprised that the second one was omitted as the picture shows somebody doing exactly that.

    And of course, less common but still happens sometimes:
    – People who smoke on platforms or carriages.
    This used to be permitted in areas of platforms that are not undercover, but the law was changed to a blanket ban in January this year.

    • I’ve “accidentally” barged through a number of stair-sitters. The occasional knee in the shoulder along with a loud “Excuse me!” gets them out of the way for everyone else. I deliberately go through the middle. I used to do the politer “Guys, you shouldn’t sit there as you’re blocking the way for everyone” only to be met with blank stares.
      I don’t do any damage. Just a little nudge or a side swipe. Enough to make the point.

      And with the stair-blockers (I’m on flat ground so must stop RIGHT HERE) I usher them gently along with the “Please don’t stop just here guys!”

      I should apply to be a station inspector…

      • So would you do that if it were a couple of fully patched bikies? Or do you pick your targets?

        • You do the same! Because not all “fully patched bikies” are aggressive people.

          Equality 😀

          • More just making a point that most people are really brave when they’ve picked their targets and aren’t expecting it to go badly. Saying something is fine but I wonder if he would knee someone in the shoulder that appeared intimidating?

          • Haha don’t worry, Regardless of how I feel about them, They’re very intimidating men (Most of the time).

            It does shit me to tears when people sit in the way though.

    • – Sit down on the station stairs while people are trying to get to the platform. I’m always mildly tempted to “accidentally” sideswipe somebody doing this with my bag, but have not so far given in to temptation.

      Nor have I. But I have accidentally spilt my drink further up the stairs from some of these obstacles. They usually move.

      • The cure here may be worse than the problem – now you have unobstructed, *slippery* stairs.

    • I remember one night at Flinders St station people were practically falling off the platform they were packed so tightly at the bottom of the escalators, yet literally 10 meters away the platform was all clear. They’re putting announcements over for people to move and for some reason everyone continued to just lump there. It was a really strange thing to see grow from a group of like four people stopping right at the bottom to this big crowd.

  • How to be a jerk on Melbourne trams:
    * Tag off with your myki inside of zone 1 where it doesn’t matter – Best to do in rush hour at a crowded stop.
    * Sit in the seat with your legs spread REALLY far apart so that the person who takes the seat next to you has a tiny amount of room to sit on – exceptions made for people with testicle cancer.
    * Sit on that orange priority seat at the end of the tram but face forward so that no one can sit in the 2 seats next to it (which you are now facing)
    * stand in the accordion join in the middle of dual carriage trams so that your fat arms are touching both hand rails, this way no one else can stand there.
    * stand at the door and rub your bum on the myki scanner so that no-one can use that one (if they did they’d have to go through your genitals).

    Any one else got any?

    • Tag off with your myki inside of zone 1 where it doesn’t matter – Best to do in rush hour at a crowded stop.

      Pet gripe

    • I’ve had multiple people get really angry at me for asking them to move out of the doorways on the 1 & 8 trams. Aisles are empty but they won’t move down them.

      Last week was a guy who said he was about to get off so he wouldn’t move even though it meant no one else could get on.

      I’ve become a grumpy old man on those routes, to the point where he threatened to punch me. After he got off of course and the tram was about to leave while I was still on it. Nice guy dressed in crossing guard clothes, just the type you want near kids.

    • There is a breakfast food type that seemingly involves garlic saturated bread. Entire carriages get stunk out at least once a week on the Bankstown line.

    • I just imagined a dishevelled looking teenager saying to a passenger in a polite manner “Excuse me sir, but it’s breakfast time”, then start huffing from a bag.

  • Apparently if you complete all ten challenges, then you qualify to choose a special bonus prize, which is one or all of the below:
    1. a punch in the face
    2. a punch in the throat
    3. getting glassed (only after 10pm) – check with your stationmaster
    4. fined by station cops
    5. yelled at

  • @ #8

    To enhance this further, barge through those people that are politely waiting until passengers disembark. Fools.

    @ the author – you’ve missed several…

    * Spill your drink on a seat in order to make it nice and wet. Hopefully this will be concealed until someone has sat in it. Hopefully it will continue to happen for the rest of the day, If you do identify that a seat is non-visibly wet, do not notify anyone and simply wait for someone to ruin their day for your amusement.

    * Remember to leave your unwanted litter on the seat. Neatly tucked down the side of the seat. Aren’t you a good citizen.

    * Sit on the end seat closest to the aisle so that any new passengers boarding the bus or train are aware that their presence is an inconvenience, and that they must beg your permission to be granted access to sit beside you. Move aside nominally so that the other passenger will have an uncomfortable attempt at moving past you without sticking their genital or posterior region in your face.

    * Sit cross legged and proceed to read a newspaper and make sure to bump into the person sitting next to you or brush them with your dirty shoes. You’re sophisticated, because you read newspapers and sit cross-legged. They’re urchins and should count themselves lucky to be in your presence.

    * If you’re in a large group act as if you’re in a playground creating an uneasy and unpleasant atmosphere for all other passengers. This is particularly important for those under the influence of alcohol, sports fans, and teens.

    * Spit. Even better, hock up and spit.

    * Enact racial abuse of fellow passengers. Sit passively when others are attacked.

    * Leave your bag in the aisle so that passengers will trip over them. This is enhanced when in a busy bus/train and several other people are doing the same. Enjoy the double tripper.

    • Aisle sitters are my annoyance each morning. Remember to stretch legs out to prevent someone even of thinking of using other parts of the seat. And be sure your bag(s) have enough space to breath.

    • Acutally, I’m an aisle sitter myself. Reason being? I know I have to get off at an earlier station (than the station that most people get off). So really, a minor inconvenience for another passenger is a lot better than me having to force the other passenger(s) to get up to let me out later.

    • really, if they didnt want me to leave my rubbish, they shouldnt have taken all the bins off platforms. (they seem to be slowly fixing this now) and if bins can be on ferries, why not on trains too…?

  • -If you’re an old lady or teen girl- put your bag on the seat next to you and never bother moving it, no matter how full the train becomes. Your stuff is important and needs all the space it can get.
    -If you’re a guy, make sure you sit with your legs spread as far apart as possible. Your testicles are massive and need a lot of breathing room.
    -Make sure your elbows rest on the passengers on either side of you, that’s what passengers besides you are for; elbow rests.

  • “10. Don’t stand on the left on escalators

    It doesn’t matter to you if someone is racing to catch a train and avoid missing a connection. Not your problem. Honestly, who reads those ‘Keep left’ signs anyway?”

    Since the photo is obviously taken in Sydney and I’ve never seen the alleged “Keep left” signs, can you please point out where they are so I can in turn point them out to others?

    • There are certainly signs on the escalators at Town Hall (which is where that pic is), Wynyard and Circular Quay.

      • I’m pretty sure there are also signs at Martin Place, and Central (on the escalators down to/up from platforms 24 & 25).

  • OK, abandoned newspaper etiquette. Need guidance from the crowd.
    If you find, and read, an abandoned newspaper on the train are you obliged to take it with you? Even if it’s not actually ‘yours?’

    • I do take my stuff with me, but I have been guilty of leaving “recycled” papers where I found them.

    • I think leaving it is a mostly a positive gesture. It’s not like leaving food wrappers or something. Someone probably will give it a read. As long as you fold it so it doesn’t scatter everywhere it’s at worst clean rubbish that people probably won’t have any issue picking up and moving to sit down.

    • leave your MX please!
      i used to work late and by the time i was at the station on my way home all the MX in the dispenser stands were gone.

  • You forgot the one where CityRail, Transport NSW and the NSW Ombudsman call a bus a train and then charge more for it and refuse to accept MyBus travel tens even though the T&Cs clearly cover every bus in Sydney except for Newcastle Buses.

    The Nightrider, is a bus and should be charged as a bus not a train. Several levels of government should not try to tell me that it is a train.

  • Missing some there.

    A problem on the lets say… Dapto and Wollongong lines.
    – Take up 3 entire seats so you can go back to bed!

    And here is one for early mornings 1st stop after the departure station.
    – This whole carriage is empty, as are the next two, still you come sit RIGHT NEXT TO ME! o_o

  • People who take up two seats on a bus or train, especially when people are standing because there are no seats. Using a bag to cover the spare seat, or sitting in the middle of two seats, or sitting sidways/with legs crossed so the other seat is covered. Selfish mofos. Did you buy a ticket for your bag too?? Then move it.


    • Unless of course you believe you have a massive package in between your legs that must get its maximum ventilation

  • # Step onto an already packed train/bus with a back pack on. Turn from side to side as much as you can.

    # Refuse to give up your seat when someone who is obviously struggling (elderly, injured, disabled) gets on the train/bus

    # Allow your brood of children to run through the length of the train/bus, screaming at the top of their lungs, preferable profane comments. Encourage their behaviour, making sure to laugh. Abuse the stern looks from the meek/passive aggressive passengers

  • Using your walking stick to secure a six seater at Southern Cross on the Frankston line during peak hour so your friends/ relos can have a seat when they get on at South Yarra. It is extra annoying as the guy/ posse doesn’t speak English, so trying to reason with them is impossible.

  • Fart on a crowded express train? I mean one that has been brewing all day because you had baked beans for breakfast and mexican for lunch.

    Speaking of trains, The Example is a great comic about an abandoned briefcase on a train platform, and the 2 people who discover it. It has been turned into a short film which I saw at Supanova, but can’t find anywhere.

  • Is it a Chinese/HK thing to not keep left when walking up stairs/along the street/etc? Because it’s god damn annoying.

    • I would imagine there are people who consider walking/running on the escalator, or even just over taking people on the street, to be rude. If you were to tell me that in Japan they enter/exit the escalator in rows of two with a space of at least a step between each group I’d probably believe you.
      Standing to one side sounds like the most logical choice to us, but maybe with a denser population or longer escalators/staircases we would consider it closer to shoving ahead in line. If we didn’t associate them with running late for trains that may change how we view it too.

  • I got 2 that haven’t been mentioned. This is a bus-centric rant.

    1. Insist on standing in the middle door doorwell on a bus, becoming a constant roadblock for incoming and outgoing passengers.

    2. Insist on sitting next to someone when there are many many completely free seats, in flawless Sheldon Cooper style. Dude who gets on after me sits in the same seat without fail, and if I forget to not sit there, his puffy jacket and briefcase squish me into the window, whilst every other seat is vacant.

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