It’s been almost two and a half months since I returned home from my semester abroad in London and I can’t help but make some comparisons with my two lives.
Throughout the day, I find numerous things that remind me of the times I spent in this great city, but I guess the most prominent comparison that I can make is that of the QU shuttles. Everyday I used public transportation, not only to and from school, but basically anytime I wanted to leave my flat.
When I first got to London, one of the first things that was addressed at my program’s orientation was public transportation etiquette. Whether it was the Tube, a train or those famous red double-decker buses, there was some unwritten rule as to what you do and do not do while utilizing public transportation.
Living this way for three months, with all of these rules in my head, I couldn’t help but think of them when I first stepped on to the shuttle for the first time this semester.
The first immediate violation of the British rules that I noticed happened when getting on to the shuttle. Wait your turn, people. You won’t be able to get on until other people get off, simple as that. Transport for London, the transport system more commonly known as TFL, even had a lovely British announcer reminding everyone to let passengers off before getting on.
Even though QU doesn’t have an old British man in reflective gear standing outside of the shuttle with a microphone reminding us to do this, I think we can still make the effort to maintain this common courtesy to fellow shuttle riders.
If there is a long line, or a “massive queue” as the Brits would say, slyly pushing your way up to the front really isn’t so sly, so I suggest you stop.
Another thing, I’m sure that the people around you really don’t care what song you’re listening to or what your mom is cooking for dinner. So with that said, turn down your music and speak lower, or wait until you’re off the shuttle to complain to your ‘mum’ about your massive amounts of homework. The Brits definitely aren’t one for public disturbances, and I highly doubt the people sitting near you like them either.
Something that is not necessarily an offense but maybe just an annoyance: Pick a seat once you get on. We all know that QU shuttle drivers aren’t the most patient people in the world, so pick your seat and get on with it. The shuttle drivers, like London bus drivers, do not wait until everyone is seated on the bus.
At least there’s no possibility of falling down a staircase on a QU shuttle. From experience, consider yourself lucky.
Here’s something that would not go over well in London, yet seems to happen here all the time: people seem to think that their backpacks and purses are people too, requiring their own seat. Let’s make some room for everyone who was shivering for the past 20 minutes; we all want to get back to our rooms, just as much as your backpack does. On a crowded London tube, bus or train, giving your oversized bag the seat next to you is definitely frowned upon.
One last thing, “remember to take all of your belongings with you.” This not only applies to the British transportation systems and rides at Disney, but yes, the QU shuttles. What are the chances of you getting your forgotten backpack returned to you? Come on now, that’s an easy one.
So cheers to good manners and remember all of this the next time you take a shuttle ride. The Brits live their lives by most of these common courtesies, and after living this way for a semester, I don’t see why we can’t abide by them too.