Having already written a post about transportation in Wuhan, I didn’t think that I’d write another related post so soon. However, there are so many public transit pet peeves that frustrate me in Wuhan that I feel a need to write about them (i.e. bitch and complain about every single annoyance). I’m not even going to include things like the lack of queues the need to be the first one to get on the bus/train/subway, which seem to be universally accepted (at least in China). If I line up, I’m the one that’s not normal…I get that. But the following are behaviours I feel that would (should?) annoy every person that regularly relies on public transit (including long-distance trains and shared bikes) to get around. And I’m not only talking about passenger behaviour – drivers, too, contribute to much of the irritation. People who have been doing this for years will probably call me a petty and whiny foreigner – sure, call me that, if you could tell that I’m a foreigner!!! Anyway, this isn’t a happy post. I might write about the ups of public transit in Wuhan in another post, but let’s get the annoyances out of the way first.
Not obeying the “alight first, then board” rule. What may seem like universal common sense is not so common here. No matter how many announcements are made and how many posters are displayed, nobody ever seems to get this, making this the #1 frustration for me when I take the subway. And this is especially obvious for subways because you get on and off via the same doors, whereas for buses, you (usually) board by the front and alight from the back. The general phenomenon is that before you even get a chance to get off, people waiting by the platform are already packing their way in, regardless of whether the train is empty of crowded to the max. Solution: push and shove and squeeze furiously or you’ll probably never get OFF the subway at your stop…
Queues do not exist in Wuhan and this is as good as it gets.
Not moving inward on a crowded bus. OK, we’re all taking public transit in a shared space and everyone is grumpy and struggling. However, getting on at an earlier stop does NOT entitle you to extra space. If there are ten people trying to get on and there’s actually maneuverable space in the middle of the bus, THEN PLEASE MOVE IN. If you don’t, then I’ll get my ass on the bus and squeeze to that empty spot, no matter how crowded it is. In China, no bus is TOO crowded to a point that one person cannot get on – there are only people who are unwilling to move. Why don’t we switch places and let you see what it’s like to try to squeeze on? Be a little considerate toward your fellow travellers, please.
Not getting your QR code ready for boarding. QR scanning has become more common and convenient than public transit cards but it’s got its downsides. In particular, some people find it necessary to wait till the second they get on the bus to open up the app on their phone and retrieve their QR code. If you’re the only or final person getting on a bus that’s not so crowded, then fine, take your time getting that QR code to show up. But if there are 15 people behind you and the bus is hella crowded already, AND YOU SAW THE BUS COMING, then GET THE DAMN CODE READY BEFORE YOU BOARD to avoid blocking everyone else, or wait till everyone else has boarded. IS THIS TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR???
Putting private locks on public bikes. This one REALLY pisses me off but unfortunately it’s not uncommon. Around my work place, shared bikes are already scattered and scarce, so any available one is usually taken immediately. As I walk from the bus station to my work place (about a 15-minute walk), I regularly see two or three unused “shared” bikes and at first I was curious why no one took them. It wasn’t until I got closer and tried to use one that I saw that they were restricted by private locks while being blatantly parked on the sidewalk. OH SO THAT’S WHY no one could ride them. I believe they’re not abandoned because occasionally they disappear after work and reappear the next morning, so I think that the lock owners are indeed working around the same area. But really, how selfish can you get…-_- Ugh. I am not wishing for an altruistic society but this type of selfish behaviour is rage-inducing, to say the least. Sometimes I want to stay around and see who the culprits are and give them the evil eye. Worse yet, I wished I had a tool that would break the locks so that I could take the bike – fighting evil with evil, not exactly the best strategy but would at least release some of the spite.
A not-so-public public “shared” bike that has been so conveniently “claimed” by someone who feels that he/she is more entitled to use public property than everyone else…
Blocking the road with a public bike. One advantage of bike-sharing is that you could literally leave the bike anywhere you want but…could you at least park it in an area that DOES NOT BLOCK THE BIKE LANE OR CAUSE TROUBLE FOR OTHER PEOPLE. Ugh. Writing this post makes me so frustrated and I’m going to have a heart attack soon…
Internal organ damage. SPEAKING OF HEART ATTACKS, some bus drivers take aggressive driving to the next level. I applaud them for making a bus ride on a normal, flat road feel like a rollercoaster ride. Granted, the roads may not be in the best of conditions, but that still doesn’t explain how incredibly shaky and bumpy the ride gets sometimes. I wouldn’t be surprised if I get internal hemorrhage one of these days. Oh, and it seems like some drivers are always in a rush. Not only do they constantly sound the honk, but one tried to close the door BEFORE I even finish getting off the bus. There was one instance where my foot was still on the step and the door closed behind me and the bus started moving…eh?????
Honking for the sake of honking. On the subject of honking, I wrote previously that I appreciate gentle reminders in the form of a short honk, but some drivers find joy in infiltrating the city with noise pollution by honking every two seconds. Does it sound like music to your ears? Do you think that the person in front of you who is in the same traffic jam as you are, would be able to move one inch because you are abusing the honk? Maybe it is therapeutic, I don’t know. Do as you wish, I guess, but the amount of noise does make an already distracting environment much more dislikeable…
General disregard for safety: NOT UNDERSTANDING THE PURPOSE OF HAVING EYES. This one isn’t specifically related to public transit, per se. One would think that before a pedestrian crosses the street, he would look both ways to make sure that no vehicle is coming his way. WRONG. More than a dozen times my boyfriend and I, while riding the motor bike, have encountered people glued to their phones while walking OR WHILE RIDING A BIKE. I think you could imagine how frustrating it is when they suddenly appear in front of us with no warning, because their eyes weren’t on the road or they just assume that the busy road belongs entirely to them. And this is how people DIE on the road through no one’s fault but their own, yet they still find it more important to reply to a message or play a game. People. Make life easier for the rest of us (and potentially yourself) by putting away your phone for one damn second while you’re on the road, PLEASE.
Some other unpleasant behaviours that reflect general disregard for the comfort/convenience of fellow passengers on trains and buses include playing music/movies/games at max volume without headphones and blocking the bus or train aisle with bags that could be put on your lap. I realize that this is the way that things have been, are, and probably will be (for some more years to come) here in China (at least in Wuhan) and in no way am I saying that people should change to accommodate me. In fact, I being the one integrating into a new environment should be the one to adapt. However, I think I still have the right to express frustration, so don’t flame me for venting. At the end of the day, you still do what you gotta do and catch that early bus 913 to get to work. Run, bus, run…just don’t hit the motorbike that’s 1 cm away from you!!
A lot of very inconsiderate behavior here. Seems like China hasn’t changed much from when I left in 2015.
I’m not surprised or suggesting that this should change to accommodate me (or could, in a short time at least), but it is certainly a source of much agony 😡