In last week’s fun poll, I asked whether you move as far back as possible when you’re standing on a bus.
And well, this poll really struck a chord! There were 201 votes on the poll and a whopping 68 comments on the post, at last count!
The results of the poll were clear: 80% said they do move as far back as possible, while just 20% don’t. (Yes, this is a fun poll and probably not representative of all riders out there!)
In the comments, the discussion was rich and varied—here’s a selection that hopefully recap the majority of what was said.
First, a lot of people indicated that their answer was somewhat “No… but yes,” depending on the situation. Abeo sums it up nicely:
If there aren’t that many people standing up already, I will hang around near the doors, much easier to let people pass you there than when standing all the way in the back. If it is crowded, I will go to the very back, of course.
But there was a huge reaction from those who typically try to move as far back as possible, regardless of the situation! For example, here’s Alan Robinson:
I’m very happy this question has come up. If I’m standing, I move as far back as possible, mostly as an example to others. I wish I didn’t have to do this, as the ceiling at the back is a little low for me. Don’t make me bonk my head, MOVE TO THE BACK OF THE BUS PEOPLE!
This segued into a discussion of the strange phenomenon where people just get frozen by the sight of the stairs, or stop halfway through a bus even though the back is empty. For many, this hugely frustrating behaviour warranted special action in the name of justice. Here’s Jacob:
[W]hen the bus is full, I’m one of those people who would do anything to get to the back of the bus, like push, and shout, and point, and glare, and make people take their backpacks off, and people think Im crazy, but I’m just trying to help those poor people standing out in the rain.
Reva had a point along the same lines:
I like to intimidate — I mean encourage — the person(s) creating the bottleneck at the stairs to either move back, or stand aside so others can go up there. I am not beyond forcing my way past people who won’t move when I say “excuse me please.” The funny thing is, once one person moves up the stairs into the back of the bus, many others follow.
And Eric noted that people who block the way sometimes have no idea they’re doing anything wrong:
The “Please move to the rear of the bus” is not clear, and very unpersuasive. Regularly, the driver has to shout it to whoever is in the bottleneck. But that person always has an ipod in his ears, and cant hear anything.
There were a few solution-oriented comments. zack pointed out that the Toronto system has stickers on its vehicles telling people to move to the back of the bus. Cow and peter b pointed out that the buses with three-door boarding always fill up nicely at the back, since people can enter closer to that section. And Dan T noted a (temporary) solution from a resourceful driver:
One innovative idea courtesy of my 84 driver the other day – the new Nova buses have the ability to fold up all the seats in the front area – the driver asked all the students in the front to stand and fold their seats, and voilà, instant room for about 8-10 extra standing people. Of course, this only worked from UBC, because the second someone needs to sit in the front area… it doesn’t work so well anymore.
Finally, the No side had fewer comments on the post, but when they did, there were some good reasons for not moving. For example, here’s Jo-Anne:
No. I don’t move right to the back anymore because my balance is not what it used to be and my arthritis keeps me from stepping up the stairs at the back. Any minute that bus could lurch and my knees would be toast. So, I move to where I can find something to hang onto and then I HANG ON! Let the more able move right to the back.
Anyway, once again: thanks to everyone who took the poll! As always, check out the full list of comments to see what everyone thought. I’ll have a new question next week!