Bus Stop Etiquette


British line on left, North American line on right
British line on left, North American line on right

Bus stop, wet day, she’s there, I say
Please share my umbrella
Bus stop, bus goes, she stays, love grows
Under my umbrella

– The Hollies

Here’s a little bus stop conundrum that I ponder from time to time. Picture this: it’s a very cold/snowy/rainy day. You arrive at your bus stop only to realize you have just missed the bus.  You check the posted schedule and learn that the next bus is due in ten minutes. You decide to seek shelter from the lousy weather in a building lobby mere steps from the stop. During the next few minutes several others also take refuge in doorways or under nearby trees. With five minutes to go before the scheduled arrival of the bus, other commuters show up, but they stay at the bus stop sign instead of getting out of the miserable conditions. A line starts to grow at the sign as the minutes wind down. At last the bus arrives and you make your way to board only to be told you have to go to the back of the line, even though you were there first.

Does taking cover from rotten weather cost you your priority regarding bus boarding?

Does taking cover from rotten weather cost you your priority regarding bus boarding? Interestingly the ‘official’ bus shelter at my local stop is located some 50 feet from the actual sign.

Please take a moment to respond to the poll below.

But let me give you my take on the situation for what it’s worth. I believe the problem could be solved by installing, at all bus stops, those ‘take a number’ devices that they use in delicatessens, but I don’t see that happening any time soon. Even without the number dispenser I’d like to think we’re a civilized society that respects the concept of ‘first come, first served’. If you want to stand out in the cold or rain or snow that’s your business, but understand that if I got there first I’m getting on that bus first.

And just to make things even more fun, recently I witnessed the following situation. It was pouring rain and a line formed in the usual Montreal fashion, which is to say parallel with the bus, moving toward the front and making a left-hand turn to get on the bus while a competing line was taking shape in the British style, ahead of the bus so the driver can see the entire line, with a right-hand turn required to board. I’d like to say that while the two lines were ‘debating’ I, a la Moses, parted the two and got on, but I wasn’t taking that bus!

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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9 thoughts on “Bus Stop Etiquette

  1. Hmmm….complicated! Here goes: those arriving in the last few minute must circle the bus shelter 3 times whilst whistling that Hollies tune, then proceed to apologies profusely to one another (as is the Canadian custom, apparently). Following this, they may proceed to line up (in the “North American” manner). Except, on Tuesdays.

  2. It really does seem the people who got there first should be able to board the bus first. But perhaps it is some type of penalty for taking shelter? Doesn’t make much sense.

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