I have the doubtful joy of using public transport a lot. Sometimes this is fine, and I quite enjoy having a bit of me time, reading and relaxing.
Sometimes it is an absolute ball ache – mostly because of other people. I try to sit in quiet coaches where ever possible. I’m usually reading so I want to avoid people with headphones as much as possible – although to be fair, there are by-laws that mean people must always be aware of other people on the train and try not to be a nuisance.
One of my biggest pet peeves is people gobbling off, answering calls or having loud conversations on the quiet coach. I’m sure you’re familiar with the situation, they’re quite happily talking about the fact they have to work late, their boyfriend is an arse, Sarah’s mother’s dog has to go to the vet… all very important stuff.
Today my journey home was massively inconvenienced due to flooding, and I had to change at Chester. I boarded the next available train journey and got on at the quiet coach.
There then proceeded to be 2 loud conversations at each end of the coach. At my side of the coach the two ladies conversing were sat behind me, on separate rows, talking quite loudly, as they were having to talk over the seats. After 10 minutes no one asked them to be quiet. I eventually got annoyed and said “Excuse me, would you please keep your voices down, this is the quiet coach”. Direct quote.
Seriously don’t know why I bother or expect anyone to have manners in this country anymore. The woman I asked got quite annoyed and aggressive, complained to her companion and then muttered for a while. A few minutes later she loudly complained that there were people at the other end of the train talking even more loudly than they were. I said I know, but they are at the other end of the train, I’m not going to shout across the train, as that would disturb more people and make the situation worse.
Apparently I am “so rude”. These were the only seats they could find. They’ve paid for seats.
I’m sorry, but if you sit in the quiet coach you obey the quiet coach rules.
“We weren’t even speaking loudly”. Yes you were. You were talking across seats. You may not have realised it, but you were disturbing other passengers.
“It’s the Quiet Zone, not the Silent Zone” – which was why I said please can you keep your voice down, not please shut up?!?!
I asked them politely to keep their voices down. The reaction I received was completely out of proportion, and they then congratulated themselves for “telling me”. Of course the other passengers who had been giving the women dirty looks said nothing in my defense and pretended to be somewhere else.
I think most other nationalities think the UK is full of nice little ladies and gentlemen, who wear morning dress, drink tea and are rather jolly nice. They’ve clearly never been on public transport in the UK (or to a football match…)
The women then sat directly behind me and slagged me off until they got off of the train. I actually thought one of them was going to hit me at one point.
So what’s the point of this rant? I just wanted to express my utter disappointment with a) the decline of manners and b) the train companies for not policing quiet coaches. It is left for passengers to ask people to stick to the rules of conduct, and often get nothing but abuse.
After this several more people started playing music, answering calls and being generally loud. I just left it and wrote this blog, because what is the point?
Let me know your travel horror stories.