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25th Oct 2022

Revealed: The top 40 commuter bugbears

Jack Peat

Maskless commuters fined

Man-spreading and smelly food eaters are both on the list 

Commuters have revealed their biggest public transport bugbears, including ‘man-spreaders’, feet on the seats, and smelly food eaters.

A poll of 1,000 adults who use buses, trains, trams, the tube, or boats to get to their place of employment found 50 per cent consider their commute to be the worst part of their day.

Other gripes include co-travellers hogging seats with their bags, fellow commuters having graphic conversations very loudly, and having to stand under someone’s armpits.

Although 48 per cent admit they have been guilty of committing such faux pas themselves.

The research was commissioned by Virgin Trains Ticketing, a booking platform which rewards passengers with points which can be exchanged for ‘everyday treats’, flights, and experiences.

Director Mark Plowright said: “Commuting is a necessity for many working adults, and as the research shows it’s often the source of much frustration.

“But it shouldn’t be such a nightmare – indeed travellers are likely to have lots of things they enjoy about their journey, it’s just that certain occurrences can ruin what should be a time to relax.”

The study also found the typical public transport commute is 41 minutes long – and on average 36 per cent of it is spent feeling irritated.

This works out to be just under half an hour in total every day – there and back – or two and a half hours a working week.

This partly might explain why 61 per cent think commuters should be offered more incentives to use public transport.

Although 41 per cent are not aware some train operators run loyalty point reward schemes.

This finding emerged at a time when 67 per cent said they’re relying on such schemes to help counteract the costs of everyday living as much as possible.

Further to this, the study carried out through OnePoll found 26 per cent intend to look for cheaper ways to get to work over the coming months.

And 21 per cent of those polled intend to commute to work more in the coming months – to save costs on heating and electricity at home.

Mark Plowright added: “It’s understandable there’s a desire for commuters to be more incentives to use public transport.

“For one thing they spend a lot of time and money on these ways of getting to and from work – we’re hoping we can make days a little brighter with Virgin Trains Ticketing and a heap of points for every journey booked.”

Top 40 public transport commuting bugbears: 

1. People talking loudly on their phone on public transport

2. Aggressive people

3. People refusing to give up their seat for others more needy (e.g. older passengers, pregnant women, people with disabilities, or those with young children)

4. Leaving rubbish on the train tables/ bus floors/ seats

5. Very delayed trains, buses or trains

6. People who push in when queuing to get on public transport

7. No air conditioning or ventilation on public transport during the summer

8. Noisy children

9. “Manspreaders” – men who insist on taking up room by spreading their legs on public transport

10. People who don’t wait for you to get off the Tube, train or bus first before barging on

11. People taking up more than their fair share of space

12. When buses or trains simply don’t turn up

13. Feet on the seats

14. People who try and make conversation with you when you’re obviously reading/ listening to music/ not interested

15. People who hog the seat with their bags

16. People asking you to “move down” the carriage when there’s clearly no more space available

17. People who don’t let you in when you’re trying to get on a busy bus, train, or Tube

18. People who have body odour and insist on using high grab rails

19. People who lean up against handrails on public transport, so there’s nothing for anyone else to hold onto

20. People who sit next to you despite there being lots of empty seats elsewhere

21. Having to stand under someone’s armpit

22. The feeling of panic, after your bus, train or Tube has reached its stop, that you might not get off in time before the doors close and it moves off again

23. People who have graphic conversations very loudly

24. People who stand in train doorways rather than moving down the carriage

25. When you’re on time and your train/ bus is late

26. Only moving bags from seats when asked

27. Drunk people on the way home from work

28. People who listen to terrible music (loudly)

29. People who don’t have the correct change or even wallet out ready to pay for their ticket

30. Waiting ages and then two buses arrive at once

31. When the outside of the bus windows are so foggy you can’t tell where you are

32. Young people who don’t get up for older people on public transport

33. People complaining when you ask them to get out of your reserved seat

34. People eating loudly on public transport

35. The disappointment of your bus driving past because it is full

36. People who wear too much perfume or aftershave on public transport

37. People who eat smelly food next to you

38. People who insist on letting off wind on public transport

39. People who sit in reserved seating when they did not actually reserve that seat

40. Noses that sniff or snort loudly on public transport

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