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People who force themselves on to the train while others are still trying to get off have been hailed as commuters’ biggest bug-bears. A study of 2,000 commuters found two thirds admit to annoying passenger actions like hogging seats with their bags, reading things over people’s shoulders and gambling by sitting in a reserved seat.
The report also found passengers who talk loudly on mobile phones, noisy laptop keys and those who refuse to turn off infuriating keypad tones also ruin our days.
The research, commissioned by online travel retailer redspottedhanky.com, found kids kicking the back of the chair, passengers being drunk or eating noisily and people saying ‘I’m on the train’ repeatedly while on a call were some of the most annoying experiences.
Gareth Woodhouse from redspottedhanky.com said:
“Sometimes we can get a bit wrapped up in our own journeys or have a lot on our minds and it can make us less considerate of those around us.
”The ability to put up with things that annoy us is quite a British trait but it’s inevitable that certain behaviours test our patience more than others.
”Clearly those who can’t wait for the train to clear before boarding or people hogging seats can rile us but with a little more consideration and some common sense train travel can be comfortable and efficient for everyone.”
The study also found four in ten passengers admit they aren’t a considerate passenger when it comes to taking the train.
More than a quarter of passengers is a seat hog and confessed to deliberately placing bags on free seats to ward off others; no surprises then that the same number have been told off or received cross looks from other passengers on a train.
But not everyone is so quick to scold those playing up, as more than half the study said that if someone sat next to them was annoying, they wouldn’t speak up.
In fact, over three quarters believe putting up with difficult situations is a typically British trait.
But when it’s become too much 55% have moved seats or even switched carriages to avoid a disruptive passenger.
For those with less patience, 17 minutes is the average time a person holds out before finally having to speak up to an annoying passenger.
And 45% deliberately try to discourage people from talking to them, mostly by staring intently out of the window, locking themselves in a book or placing headphones in.
The average commuter studied spent 42 minutes on a train each trip to work and cited not being able to get a seat as the biggest stress factor.
Leading psychologist Jo Hemmings who worked with redspottedhanky.com on the survey added:
“The survey reveals a long list of irritating train habits, most of which will resonate with many of us.
”Train journeys, especially commutes, bridge that gap between two environments that we are used to, have some control over and make as comfortable for ourselves as possible – home and work.
”This is why we tend to seat hog, listen to our music or ensure that we try and get off or on the train first.
”It is a public situation which we are trying to personalise with our behaviour and it is this which annoys other people, who are trying to do exactly the same, often in overcrowded situations.
”It’s a lack of consideration borne out of a desire to create a private, individual space within a very public mode of transport.
”But of course what makes it especially annoying, unlike many of our European neighbours, is that our British reserve usually prevents us from speaking up about our irritations, so many of us quietly fume, make a face, tut under our breath or simply turn away.
”This sense of helplessness can ultimately make us just as frustrated as the original behaviour that triggered our irritation.”
THE MOST ANNOYING TRAIN HABITS
1. People forcing themselves on when others are still getting off
2. Smelling bad
3. Drunken behaviour
4. People playing ringtones/music through speakers
5. Others kicking the back of your seat constantly
6. Parents not controlling their children, even when they’re grabbing at your face
7. People who don’t give up their seat for others who need it more
8. Playing music too loudly over headphones
9. Eating noisily
10. Putting feet on seats
11. Eating food that smells strongly
12. People who just expect you to move and don’t say excuse me
13. Coughing or constant clearing of the throat
14. People who say ‘I’m on the train’ again and again on the phone
15. People standing over you/ breathing down your neck
16. People sneezing regularly
17. Noisy games consoles
18. People talking boastfully because they know others can hear
19. Putting bags on seats
20. Talking in the Quiet Zone
21. Noisy laptop, iPad or phone keypads
22. Talking loudly with friends/colleagues
23. Couples getting amorous with each other
24. People snoring loudly
25. Someone hogging the armrest
26. Taking ages to put their luggage in the compartments whilst you wait behind them
27. Strangers who chat you up
28. People falling asleep on you
29. Pulling the sunshield down, when you were quite enjoying the view
30. Someone reading your paper/book