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If you’re travelling on public transit, you meet a wide variety of people. Many of them are simply like you, trying to get to their destination as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, others are not as friendly, and may even try to cause a problem on the bus.
What do you do if you witness a disturbance? What if you’re involved because the other person becomes aggressive toward you?
Here are some tips on how to handle the situation safely without escalating the issue or getting hurt.
Understand the Factors That Cause Trouble
Folks on public transportation are facing a lot of stress. Perhaps they are struggling with their work or their personal life, but they still have to travel. Often the busses are crowded, and they may feel frustrated that they are so close to others.
Even an unintentional bump from another passenger, or not having access to the seat they are used to can put someone over the edge into a confrontation.
Sometimes when you can understand the reasons someone is acting angry, it can help you have more compassion and make it easier to diffuse the situation.
Let Someone in Charge Know
If you’re not involved in the disturbance, it’s important to let someone know about the problem who can help. Many times getting involved yourself will only escalate the problem.
Often a disturbance on a bus or small vehicle will be obvious to the driver or any security officers, but on a subway or train, it might be less so. Communities with public transport, including bus lines in Toronto, have trained their drivers on how to handle bad behavior.
Rather than making things worse by getting involved in an argument or a fight, find someone in authority who can step in and make things right.
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Diffuse a Confrontation if You’re Involved
If someone becomes angry or aggressive toward you, it’s important to handle the situation wisely. The other person may be wrong, or they may be unreasonable, but it’s still essential to diffuse the confrontation.
Remaining calm and respectful will help keep things under control. Don’t take insults or offensive language personally. Make sure you maintain your own self-control as well. Nothing gets better if you become angry and escalate the situation!
By showing understanding – even if you’re right and the other person is wrong – you may be able to make a difficult situation better for everyone involved.
Follow Public Transport Etiquette
One way to avoid confrontation on public buses is to make sure you’re following the proper etiquette yourself. That way, you know that you’re not the one causing a problem.
Some rules to follow are:
- Stay to the right as much as possible when walking onto or off of the bus
- Have your fare ready to pay as you board the bus
- Don’t block traffic on a busy bus, and when you’re on a fairly empty bus allow others plenty of personal space
- Show good manners toward those who are disabled, older, or pregnant. Let them have a seat if possible
- Make sure your bags don’t hit anyone and don’t take up more space than necessary
- Avoid being noisy, especially on a phone or listening to music
- Keep your children quiet and under control
- Wear deodorant and don’t overdo the perfume
By following these standards you can help prevent problems on public transport and be part of making everyday commutes better.