Unspoken Rules About Public Transportation

In life, there are two things we can’t escape from – death and taxes. But in Kuala Lumpur, we add another item to the list: traffic jams.

In the diverse society that takes public transportation, we all share one thing in common – we have to be somewhere else. Bad enough to have to bear the accompanying nuisance, some passengers unknowingly add oil to the fire. So here are a few unspoken rules to abide by and avoid those judgemental stares!

1. Basic Manners

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Let’s start with the basics. Manners should go without saying. Courtesies like closing your mouth when you sneeze or a cough should come naturally. Not only does it reflect mannerism, but your sense of hygiene as well. Remember phrases like “excuse me” when you intend to exit, or “sorry” if you accidentally step on someone’s shoe or bump into the person standing right next to you.

2. Follow The Queue

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Queues at bus stops and train stations seem to last forever and it gets longer when the bus or train is delayed, especially during peak hours. A rough indication of how long each person has been waiting, the obvious “first come, first serve” policy is applicable. However, there will always be that one or two ‘heroes’ who will cut or make a new queue at the risk of another’s chance to board. Such actions only add havoc and chaos when boarding the public transport.

3. Ready Your Fare

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This rule applies primarily to bus passengers. As if it wasn’t bad enough to have waited for a bus to arrive, the person whose turn to pay decides to scour their pockets, handbag or haversack for some small change or card to pay their bus fares. Preparing your fare payment even before you start boarding the bus avoids causing a long line of frustrated people. Thus, a smooth boarding process is possible.

4. Passengers Exit First, Always!

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Before bulldozing your way into an already packed vehicle, allow those intending to disembark, disembark! We get that you are rushing to get to somewhere, but so are they. Forcing yourself in will only push them further into the vehicle. But waiting your turn may win you a seat.

5. Occupying Seats

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As a reminder, the seats provided in trains and buses are meant for people to sit on, not luggage. Also annoying is walking into a packed public transport to find a person occupying two or three seats. This is public transport; for the people. Be considerate of others, especially those in need of them.

6. Not Too Close, Please! 

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Regardless of whether you are sitting or standing, getting too close to another stranger will cause discomfort. Undoubtedly a public venue, there are still some boundaries to one’s personal space. And with the numerous reports of sexual harassment in public areas, people are even more anxious and defensive. Of course, your own corner is best.

7. Talking Loudly

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Let’s face it, not everyone is interested in your life affairs. Whenever you are talking on the phone, lower your voice. Be mindful of those around you who may want a peaceful environment. Even if it is really important, you don’t have to announce it to the world. You wouldn’t want anyone listening to stories about your private life, now would you.

8. Horrible Stench

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Above all, this one should be made law. Always the case (especially in cramped vehicles), a person enters, bringing with him an unpleasant gush of odor; eventually finding its way into your nostrils. Unless you disembark and board the next bus. Therefore, prepare spare clothes and deodorant when you have gym sessions or football games. You could also opt to shower before heading home. You definitely do not want to be turning heads for the wrong reason.

9. PDA

david-west-and-tristan-thompson-making-outPhoto Credit: http://www.totalprosports.com

PDA – Public Display of Affection. We have all witnessed that uncomfortable scene of two people trying to escalate a public transport into a scene for an 18-rated movie. It is not at all romantic to be smooching in public, caressing one another. There are a time and place, and someone might be recording. Have some self-control.

10. Staring Contest

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Unlike most who prefer their own business, these people deviate from the norm by staring at others instead. Some do not even know that it is rude. Kindly avoid such confusing behavior. Others would start to question your familiarity or their appearance, or worse, they might even assume you a stalker. So be safe and quit staring.


We at CatchThatBus would like to extend our gratitude for following these unspoken rules, ensuring a smooth and happy travel experience for all passengers!

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