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Every day I commute to work using a bus like this:

articulated bus with four doors

As I understand it, the bus driver has separate buttons to either actively open the doors or to merely "release" them. If the bus driver only releases the doors, they remain closed and the passengers have to press a button to open a door and get off.

Every now and then a bus driver forgets to release the doors and only actively opens the two doors in the forward half of the bus. Passengers from the rear get over this problem by either quickly walking along the aisle and disembarking through the open front door, or by calling to the bus driver to open the door for them.

But during rush hour, the bus is tightly packed. There are so many people on the bus that, if the bus driver forgets to release the doors, it is impossible for people to move to another door before that door closes and the bus drives on to the next stop. And given the sound-absorbing wall of bodies and the noise, the bus driver will not hear someone calling in the back of the bus.

All of this is not a problem for me, as I get off at the last stop where the bus driver waits for everyone. But every now and then I witness someone who tries to open the unreleased door for a few seconds in vain, then calls, usually in a timid voice, and is not heard, then struggles through the throng a few steps towards the open front door, when that door closes and they have to wait till the next stop and walk back from there to where they actually wanted to go. I imagine that some of them miss the train they want to catch and have a bad start into their work day because of that.

Now today, when the bus driver forgot to release the door, one man politely called for the driver to please open the door, which the bus driver did not react to, and then the bellowed in the loudest voice I ever heard, twice, "open the door!", until the bus driver actually heard him and opened the door for him. With a muttered insult the man got off at his stop.

What I noticed, and what is the reason for my question, is that everyone near that man quite obviously felt very uncomfortable with his hollered demand. They all looked away with bland faces and ignored both his problem and his behavior. I myself always sympathize with those that cannot get off where they want to, and I felt the same helpless empathy for this man also, but at the same time the intense physicality of his shout felt inappropriate and rude, despite the fact that it was the only means for thim to assert his right to disembark. What I felt was shame.

I have been thinking about the event since then, wondering about my feelings and the discomfort I saw reflected on the faces of the other passengers. It seems to me that we expect people to quietly suffer the mistakes of others, if a polite reminder does not help, and not raise our voices beyond a certain level, like that man did. It is almost as if that man had put himself in the wrong simply by raising his voice too much.

What is the appropriate behavior in a situation like this?

I hope that questions about commuting are allowed on this site. For many people their commute is a part of their work life, both emotionally and legally (e.g. from the perspective of many insurances). Many commuters begin to work on the train or meet colleagues on the bus, making it part of the workplace.

  • Why not complain to the bus company? OR locate yourself next to the bus driver – Ed Heal Dec 2 '17 at 12:56
  • @EdHeal Complaining to the bus company will not help you catch your train right now. And in a bus that is full not everyone can stand next to the bus driver. – Walter Fenn Dec 2 '17 at 13:00
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a bit of a stretch even if you're a professional bus rider. – Blrfl Dec 2 '17 at 13:07
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    Do we have a commuting.stackexchange we could redirect this to? Nothing workplace related here. – The Wandering Dev Manager Dec 2 '17 at 13:43
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    @TheWanderingDevManager Interpersonal Skills. – Dukeling Dec 2 '17 at 15:19
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Is it inappropriate to shout for a bus driver to open the door during commute?

No, it's not inappropriate.

If that's the only way to get the driver to open the door for you, then shout away.

And if that bothers folks near you, that's their problem.

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