Empty seats? Go sit.

I see this way too often: the bus is crowded, lots of people are about to board, and everyone stands in the front even though there are lots of empty seats in the back. Even worse, I see people standing in front of empty seats!

Crowded bus

A crowded bus

This crowd makes it hard for everyone to board and blocks anyone who wants to sit.

There are many reasons why people choose to stand. Some of them are valid, but many are not when it’s that crowded.

On a crowded bus, these are the only valid reasons why it would be acceptable for you to stand:

  1. There are no more seats.
  2. A medical condition prevents you from sitting.
  3. You’re getting off in the next couple of stops and sitting down would mean having to push through the crowd. If this is the case, be one of the last people to board so you stay close to the door.
  4. You’re carrying a lot of luggage and sitting down would be more trouble for everyone. If this is your reason, make sure to take any backpacks off and hold them in front of you so you take up less room.
  5. You can’t get to a seat because of the crowd. I’m hesitant to include this one because you could tell people to move to the back and go sit.

Note that the “getting off soon” excuse doesn’t hold if you’re planning to get off with the rest of the crowd. If that’s the case, go sit.

Any excuses other than those five are likely not valid reasons to stand. Some of the more common excuses are:

  • “I’m saving the seat in case someone needs it.” Doing this actually prevents those who need to sit from sitting because the crowd blocks them. If there truly is someone who needs the seat more than you do, offer it to them when they show up. Until then, go sit.
  • “I’d be invading their personal space.”/”I don’t want to sit beside someone.” You’re on a crowded bus where everyone is squeezed together. Personal space is effectively nonexistent. Go sit.
  • “Riding while standing is cool.” Do that when it’s less crowded. Go sit.
  • “I don’t like to sit.” Tough. Stop being selfish and go sit.

When you do go sit, don’t sit in the aisle seat and leave the window seat empty. Move over into the window seat and keep your bags off the aisle seat.

If, after all this, you’re still stuck standing, you should read the reminders on the sides in the front that say “Please move back” and move as far back as possible. Doing so makes the front less crowded and makes more room for people to board.

So, if the bus is crowded and there are empty seats, do us all a favour and go sit.

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