Every day, students spend a major part of their waking hours in trains, trams or buses. And occasionally, they have to deal with a serious case of the Monday blues or a Friday morning hangover at the same time. When you consider the poor behaviour displayed by some fellow passengers, it’s a miracle we don’t just turn around and climb back into bed. To mentally prepare you for your next foray into public transport, EM has compiled a list of the greatest sources of irritation for student travellers – so that you can take the necessary measures.

1) The quadruple occupation

Image credit: Speld

While the section heading sounds like some major incident in twentieth-century history, we’re talking about a different kettle of fish. Namely those individuals who – to put it mildly – live ‘in their own world’, with a full-blown alpha male complex to boot. As a result, they think they’re entitled to occupy an entire four-seater section on a crowded train.

If you absolutely have to lug around every item you own, at any rate try not to do it during rush hour. Stick to periods and days when it doesn’t affect everyone else in your compartment. Should you happen to encounter one of these people, EM recommends inquiring in a friendly tone whether he has reserved the three other seats for his ego or for his imaginary friends. He’ll probably clear out some space for you after that.

2) The 50-metre sprint at Kralingse Zoom

You know those situations where that one bus at Kralingse Zoom makes the difference between ‘just in time’ and ‘embarrassingly late’ for your important presentation later that day? You get off the tube, bound up the stairs, leg it to the bus stop and see the bus pull away just as you arrive. That’s when you need to resign yourself to making the long walk to campus. At least you have time to work on a better excuse than being held up by Slumberland Customs.


3) Kids who treat the subway like a playground

We’ve all had one of those mornings where you need to be at Uni by 9, while still recovering from a wild party the night before. The underground is once again filled to capacity. When you add parents who make no effort to rein in their kids – who are tearing along the full length of the train screaming their lungs off – you start wondering what it was again that attracted you to student life. Hand the children an address card for Ballorig, or ask the parents whether their kids have a power off button. They’re bound to be more accommodating if you explain that entire strips of aspirin and buckets of coffee are the only things holding you together right now.


4) Loud conversations on the phone

Some people have no issue discussing the most intimate details of their life on the phone, at the top of their voice – forcing dozens of fellow travellers to follow every twist and turn. I’m sure we’re all dying to hear that you slept around last weekend, and that you’re heading to the Municipal health Service to get checked for STDs.

When you approach these types of people, take care not to show your annoyance. Rather, ask them in a friendly voice if they could ask the doctor to irrigate their ears while they’re at it. Or offer them a cheap headset for their phone: that does the trick too.

5) Clean your shit up!

How come some people cannot get it into their heads that leaving your junk on or under your seat is extremely annoying for the next person who wants to sit there? And that includes your daily paper, used sandwich bag or packet of Wicky lemonade. Clean up your mess when you’re done. And when you see someone treating their seat like you treat your student digs, tell them they’re out of line or let them read this article. Incidentally, these tend to be the same people who indulge in some of the other annoying behaviour that’s listed here too.

Image credit: Nos.nl