He Says She Says 14/10/10

Every week, Heart Breakfast’s Martin and Su go head-to-head on those everyday issues that affect us all.

This week: Would you let carriage etiquette drive you off the rails?

He Says:

Train passengers don’t have an easy time of the morning or evening commute that’s for sure and I can imagine they would love to be in a quieter place - but let’s be honest the train is not the place for tranquility and contemplation.

There are many places where one can discover peace and solitude but the train is for many an extension of the office and since finding a seat in almost any carriage is quite an achievement. To expect a passenger to turn off their mobile phones or not enjoy their MP3 players is just a selfish way of imposing your will on others.

It’s almost as if we Brits make rules we want others to break just so we can have a moan about them. We have all become dependent on our mobiles and to use them is not offensive - except perhaps to those people who are so nosey that hearing just one side of a conversation annoys them!

I find nothing rude about a phone call being made by a stranger to a stranger except perhaps one that involves excessively loud bad language.

The ‘quiet carriage’ is for those that live in fear of others who have a life, like people who enjoy their music, or perhaps have friends who like to keep in touch with them. These people don’t need the quiet time because their lives are so hectic.

This ‘quiet carriage’ is probably occupied by people who live alone in a flat with cats (lots of them) and are constantly on the phone to the council to complain about the noise the neighbours make

What I find really sad is our lack of tolerance for others with whom we share our public spaces. I have noticed that some could or course show more respect in the company of others but this is just a step too far!

She Says:

I don’t travel on public transport that often but when I’m going down to London I always use the train as there is absolutely no way that I would drive into town. Plus it’s nice to sit back and relax with whoever you’re travelling with.

So the last time we jumped on the train at Harlow Town, when we boarded the train I noticed we were in the quiet zone carriage. The sign said that in this carriage you were not to use your mobile or any other electrical equipment that could disturb other passengers. Fine by me - as I don’t use any audio equipment when I’m on the train and I had no plans to phone friends or family.

The problem was the other ignorant and selfish passengers who were sharing the carriage with me didn’t feel the same way. We were on the train for about 40 minutes and for at least 30 of them at least one person was on the phone - and what is about people who are on the phone on trains that makes them shout instead of talking at a normal level? Trains aren’t so noisy these days that you have to shout. The calls weren’t even that important, one was about what the girl was having for dinner and another was about this bloke’s day at work.

I could not believe it - there were signs everywhere and people were just ignoring them. It wasn’t like there weren’t any seats in any of the other carriages. It really infuriated me and it seemed to irritate some of the others in the carriage too they had chosen to ride in the quiet zone because they have been at work and wanted to chill. This blatant disregard for the rules makes me so angry.

Once again I know I’m going to sound like an old windbag, but what is wrong with people? Where is the respect for other human beings? It’s not much to ask that people stay off their mobile phones for a short journey and if they can’t then they should move into a different carriage!

Read more He Says, She Says here