Saturday, 24 July 2010

Rules of the commuter train

With the onset of the school summer holidays, there will inevitably be a few additions to the passengers on the morning commuter trains into London. For those who do not travel on these trains very often, and as a service to those who do, I write here a reminder of the unwritten rules of the commuter train.

Quiet Car
When entering a "quiet car", please ensure that your mobile is set to its "loud" setting, text a friend to call you, and then put the phone on loudspeaker as you discuss your sex life and what you intend to eat that evening. Also, make sure that your MP3 players volume is set high enough to broadcast to the deaf!

Avoid eye contact
If you are not on the quiet car, under no circumstances attempt eye contact or any other form of communication with anyone else on the carriage (except when "sharing the love" (see below!)). This aversion to other people should include the ticket inspector who should never, ever be so much as acknowledged. If at all possible, upon hearing the ticket collector, leave your ticket face up on your knee and stare out of the window as far to the horizon as you can. Do not attempt to talk to, smile at, or admire the shoes of anybody that you don't know.

Share the love
Make sure that you are as close to the person sitting next to you as you could possibly be. If said person begins to creep away from you, you are obliged to turn towards them with the intention of brushing your leg against theirs. On certain seats, this can also mean that your back will be against the shoulder of the person behind. If you find that this is the case, make no attempt to lean forward. Instead, nuzzle into the person behind you.

Gents, keep those knees apart

For the male commuter, it is imperative that your knees remain apart at all times by a distance no less than one and a half times the width of your shoulders. This is particularly important when seated in the middle seat of a three seat block. An effective way to maintain this position is to lean slightly forward and focus on the floor. When performed correctly, this position should be complemented with your forehead being no more than 3 inches above the knee of the person sitting opposite you.

The fuller the better
As is demonstrated by the above video, one should never step onto an empty, or partially empty carriage. Instead, choose the carriage with the most people on it, and offer your services in adding to their cramped discomfort. Crowd surfing is generally frowned upon, mostly due to the amount of fun had in doing so, but always keep the option open for consideration.

Cycle restrictions
The notice "Cycle restrictions apply on this train" means that you must carry at least one bicycle onto the train. If you don't have a bicycle to hand, steal one from the train platform, or borrow one from a friend. Make sure that when placing said bicycle on the carriage, you cover as many seats as possible, and leave it balanced precariously so that it will fall over every time the train hits a bump. Do NOT apologise if the bike falls over and hits somebody on the shin/ankle/foot. Instead, look at them like they stole your last Rolo, and devote your attention to making sure the bike hasn't been fatally wounded!

Germs are everybody's friend
Remember that everybody on the train is curiously fascinated by bacteria and loves to get ill. Therefore, you should never cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. If at all possible, try to direct the flow of sneeze based spittle towards the ear of the person sitting next to you, or to the lap of the person sitting opposite you. Handkerchiefs and tissues are not allowed, so any excess must be wiped either on your hand or on your sleeve.

Leave your litter on the seat
Remember to leave as much rubbish on the seat as possible. Newspapers, Styrofoam cups, sweet wrappers, engine oil, horse manure, anything you can think of. If possible, separate each page of any newspaper, and place separately on the seats and floor around you.

Don't give your seat away

Under no circumstances offer the old person your seat. Instead, focus every fibre of your being on ignoring them as they struggle to stand against the sideways motion of the carriage


  1. Ha! Entertaining read!

  2. I specifically like sharing the love and keeping the knees apart. :) lol You're funny :)

  3. Thank you both :0) And congratulations for being my first commenters! :0)


Please leave a comment!