I take a bus or train to work and in general most bus etiquette can be determined by following a simple guideline: “Don’t be an asshole”. Having much experience in that area, I know what behaviour to avoid. Luckily, Queensland Rail also has handy posters to provide helpful tips to anyone who needs reminding. However, there are some situations where these guidelines do not provide an adequate answer.
I travel home in peak hour and tend to catch the bus quite a few stops from where it starts, so the bus can be quite full by the time I get on. The buses are set out so that the are rows of seats for two people on each side. Two situations make choosing your seat easy. If there is a completely empty row, sit there. If all seats are full, stand. The difficulty comes when there is at least one person in every row of seats. So you have to pick a person to sit next to. The seat you are going to select needs to be done on first inspection and without making any eye contact if possible. This takes skill… Once someone spots you looking at the seat beside them, you must take the seat or risk offending them and that can be a disaster.
My strategy is to attempt to spot the most petite woman on the bus and sit next to her. This is not out of any particular attraction to petite woman, but due to a strong correlation between upper body size and arse size. Selecting a seating partner with a smaller backside maximizes the amount of seat I can sit on without risking actually touching the person. If I am going to be sitting for the best part of an hour, I want to be as comfortable as possible. While looking up to see if there was an answer to the upcoming dilemma, I found it was suggested that this is actually a breach of bus etiquette. We should all be like in grade school and boys sit with boys and girls with girls. But given I shower and wear deodorant (but not excessively), I think I can let this one pass…
I get off two stops before the bus terminus. So even if the bus is very full at the start of the journey, it is likely to be quite empty by the end. On a few occasions, the person I sat next to is also on the bus near then end. And here is my dilemma. As free seats become available, should I move to one? Could I offend the person I am sitting next to by moving the second a spare seat becomes available? If there is only the two of us left on the bus, then I would have no issue moving to another seat. But at what point does it become important that I move? Does it depend on whether I am reading a book (and so am paying little attention to my surroundings) or listening to my iPod? Does it depend on how many stops remain before I will be getting off the bus? I am a statistician so can make a rough probability distribution of where other passengers get off the bus. So if the woman I am sitting next to is likely to leave in a few stops, should I stay sitting next until that point passes?
Finally, if she is wearing tight pants and she gets off at a stop before me, is it OK if I check out her backside as I let her off the bus? Not for any sexual reason, but to add another data point to my inventory of initial glance to bum size correlation data set to improve my estimation and allow picking a more optimal seating partner for my next journey… Honest!