13 People You’ll Inevitably Encounter When Riding Public Transportation


In Seattle it’s the King County Metro, in New York the subway. Chicago has the CTA and LA has…well in LA you should probably just buck up and drive if we’re being honest. Basically any big city has a plethora of ways that aren’t Uber or Lyft for those of us without a vehicle to get from point A to point B. Public transportation can be a magical, cost-efficient blessing if your living situation doesn’t allow for your own car or if driving is just something you’re safer not doing. But the good ol’ PT can also be a cesspool of some of the weirdest people you’ll come across in your entire life. A handful of them will terrify you — but not to worry, this is only a small percentage. Most, however, are just the old faithfuls you see on every commute who make the journey a little bit more entertaining.

1. The Overly Stressed Out Student.

They kind of just look like they need to be wrapped up in a blanket and given a Xanax. They’re turning around all crazy like — not even thinking about the backpack they’re wearing smacking into everyone while they make a swift 360 to look for a seat. They’re fully working on their laptop even though they’re on a bus — and well, that’s weird. You almost feel bad for them when their obviously weak home-brewed coffee spills on their slippers, but then you remember how nice it was being in college and how you never once took up two seats with your Econ notes, and you stop feeling bad right then and there.

2. The Tourist.

There’s always a specific characteristic or trait that gives them away. In New York it’s the “I Heart NY” shirts and inability to figure out that the city is a grid. In Seattle it’s the umbrella and confusion about the fact that the Light Rail and Monorail are two different things. But the biggest giveaway is the fact that they don’t know that asking for directions when you’re already physically riding public transportation is a terrible idea. If you have to ask where you are, you’re already lost. Get off the train and ask someone above ground — it’ll be way easier for everyone involved.

3. The Group That Would Normally Take A Cab.

It’s probably either a slew of guys in suits or girls in inappropriately stiletto-ed heels. What are they doing here? Are they lost? Are they worried the rest of us are going to get our poor on them? They ride for one, maybe two stops and then they get out laughing and tossing their perfectly coifed hair like they’re in on some sort of joke that the rest us could never possibly get. I’m always so curious what their story is. Personally, my favorite of all the theories is that they’re mafia guys and international call girls. I really just want my life to be a Showtime show.

4. The Woman Who Has Given Up.

Hey Ponytail and dirty Nikes, I see you. Yeah I see the lanyard holding your bus pass and house keys that you’re wearing around your neck. I see the bags under your eyes that you no longer give a damn about trying to cover up too. I see all of it. I think the daily 90-minute commute is starting to get to you and kill your spirit a little. You need to get some headphones, find a podcast, and make the best of it because you are a downer, hon. Or spring for an Uber tomorrow girl because you’re worth it.

5. The Man Selling Flowers.

He’s going to come by and slur a bunch of things that you cannot understand except for the word “pretty” and probably a mispronunciation of the foliage he is trying to sell. Yesterday it was “cranration” instead of “carnation.” Just remember to keep to yourself. Unless you want a rose; in which case, by all means. But maybe use some hand sanitizer after you take it.

6. The Overly Ambitious Grocery Shopper.

They really thought they could make it 2.1 miles on a bus with five full bags from Trader Joes with no causalities? Are they insane?! Even if they are reusable bags those are made in Taiwan, sweetie, they are NOT indestructible! Their poor arms! Their arms are so full they can’t even SnapChat while walking. God damn! I mean…we’ve all been there, but it’s still hard to watch.

7. The One Who Didn’t Plan For The Weather.

They looked outside and saw sunshine and didn’t even bother to think about the fact that it can still be sunny without even breaking 40 degrees. Now they’re sitting on a vinyl seat in a tank top with no jacket or scarf, shivering away and regretting everything. Tsk tsk. Check your weather app; don’t make the mistake of being the cold one on the bus. It really sucks and makes the flower guy way harder to deal with.

8. The Recent Transplant Who Is Still Afraid Of Everyone.

They’re nervously hitting refresh on their Twitter even though the bus is going through a tunnel and they obviously don’t have service. You can tell that they don’t want to move their briefcase off of the seat next to them because then a STRANGER might sit there and then what?! When the sun is down, they’re ten times more on edge. It’s important, during these moments, not to make any sudden movements in their direction because they probably have mace in their pocket that their mom told them to carry “just in case.”

9. The Girl Who Has Her Shit Together.

She is sitting there with her perfectly “messy” curls, red lipstick flawlessly applied, wearing her Zara blazer and vintage Chanel bag, all while unknowingly making you hyper aware of the fact that your 8-year-old Forever21 dress not only makes you look like you’re five but is still missing a button. It’s like she was put on this train car to make you question all of your decisions and to make you realize the goal you should be heading towards but have no idea how to achieve. You could barely remember which train to get on this morning. Damn, it must be nice to be her.

10. The Writer.

They’re typing away at their phone, every now and then pausing to look out of the window wistfully. Maybe they have one of those moleskin journals and there’s a half-smoked rolled cigarette behind their ear. If they’re wearing ear buds, you can hear the new Drake album pulsing through, propelling them on their way. They’re the person that I instantly hate until I look down at my phone and recognize that — oh shit — I’m doing the exact same thing.

11. The Elusive Hot Guy.

Does EVERY public transportation journey have some sort of hot dude requirement?! They sit there in their Beats by Dre reading something effortlessly cool like David Sedaris with their stubble and they just KNOW you’re staring. But come on! You have to stare, because he’s GORGEOUS. You end up riding two stops further than you had planned just to try and figure out a little bit more about him based on the neighborhood and bar he’s headed to. Wait…you’ve never done that! That would crazy…lolz

12. The Person Talking On Their Phone.

It’s probably a mom with high-school aged children yelling into her Droid because she still can’t find the volume buttons. “Jamie, are you listening to me!? You really need to make sure the cat gets his diabetes medication!” Don’t worry ma’am, not only does Jamie know she (maybe he) needs to get that cat some insulin, but now the ENTIRE 49 bus headed downtown via Broadway knows it too.

13. The Sleeping Person.

They are OUT. Like…really out. Like, eyes fluttering, fingers twitching, middle-of-a-REM-cycle out. Do you wake them up or leave them be? Large cities are tiring and maybe they just really need the shut eye. But what if nobody bugs them and they wake up in Jersey or in the weird train graveyard that the trains go to when they aren’t actively running? No. Just leave them. Flower guy will take care of it.