Tram Observations

During the last two months in Melbourne, I have noticed a strange phenomenon in trams. Often, a very crowded tram will have a few empty seats but no one rushing to fill them. Now, coming from Hyderabad, this was a very very strange thing to me. In the beginning, I was suspicious of the seats, wondering if someone had puked there or something (not unlikely, since a lot of drunk folk get on the trams late in the night on weekends). But there would be nothing wrong with the seats and it always puzzled me that no one was rushing to sit there even though there were people standing all around it.

Now that I have started working, which translates to commuting in the rush hour, things are clearing up.

I got onto a very crowded tram the other evening on my way home from work. As usual, there were a crowd of people standing, holding on to handbags, backpacks, PDAs, evening editions of newspapers, coats, and so many other things. Two people got up from a seat and got off at the next stop. Everyone in the immediate vicinity of the the seat looked at each other with mildly questioning looks, wondering if anyone else wanted to sit down. This really amazed me, because back home, I know that people would just shove past and grab the seat as if it were a game of musical chairs. After a few seconds of looking around, one man shuffled forward with a very embarassed expression on his face, and after a couple of "excuse me"'s he sat on one of the seats. Through the rest of the journey, the other seat remained empty, even though there was an elderly lady standing near it, and a whole lot of other people. I realised that people were not taking the seat because they thought someone else may need it more. Or because they were not far from their stops and didn't think it worthwhile to grab a seat for such a short distance.

The whole analysis really fascinated me. When I got off the tram, I realised that even with my painfully sprained ankle and laptop bag, I had remained standing too, watching the drama of the empty seat! I guess this means that I now have the Melbourne spirit.


Ms.N said...

hehe - forget hyd. imagine having 2 vacant seats on a train!!!

so how is Aus? no updates on ur job, house... fine if u dont blog, but I demand an email. and ALL the details!!!!!

Ms.N said...

oops i meant imagine having 2 vacant seats on a train in bby!!!