Traveler asks internet if ‘disrespectful’ train act is normal

Has the COVID pandemic changed what is acceptable behavior on public transport?

A disgruntled train traveler, who recently moved to Sydney, has shared a snap of a person on their phone while their bag sits on the seat opposite.

“Recently moved to Sydney and find this a lot where people are standing in the metro and then there are people who keep bags on the empty seats and show no eagerness to move the bags so someone can sit! I find it disrespectful and frustrating. Is this normal?” the person asked on Reddit.

Many users told the new Sydneysider he should have asked for the other person to move their bag, adding it’s only impolite if the other passenger refuses to move their belongings after being asked.

“Normal to do it, but also normal to ask for them to move it and normal for them to have no problem moving it,” one person said.

The photo shows a person on their phone while their bag sits on the seat opposite.
Reddit

“People sometimes need a little push to be polite. Like a child that forgets to say thank you. ‘Hey mate, is it cool if I sit here?’ Very rarely will you get a no,” wrote another.

A third added: “People here are not disrespectful, they are just a bit careless.”

Some claimed it was acceptable for the person to keep their bag on the particular seat in the photo because it was such a tight space.

“You should be able to move the seat back so the seat faces the other way. Just ask them to move their bag. I used to commute in those trains and there’s really not enough room there for 2 adults to sit facing each other,” the person said.

But another argued: “If you flip it you will just be facing somebody else and rubbing your knees together. This is the one seat I think its OK to put your bag on.”

“To be fair, that specific seat on the city rail trains is an honest no go. No one sits there if someone is sitting across,” one Sydneysider informed the new resident.

“Nah there is no way you expect to sit in that seat. You want to play footsies with a stranger?” another wrote.

One person agreed it was “the unspoken code”, while someone else said they’d rather stand.

“Right. No one wants to be sat knee-to-knee with a stranger, especially not post-Covid. I’d rather stand than sit there,” someone else wrote.

Users suggested the rules of what was acceptable on public transport had changed since Covid with travelers taking up more space and being expected to give more space.

“It’s gotten worse because of Covid, people think taking more space is more acceptable now,” one person wrote.

“The rules kind of changed with Covid too. Most won’t go for this seat or the middle of three anymore, so the bag thing became a bit more normal,” said another.

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