If you think your fellow public transit passengers are a rude bunch, a French public transportation agency is now combating its own group of "slothful" and uncouth riders with a new politeness campaign.
For anyone who rides the train, streetcar or bus on a daily basis, here are a few scenarios that transpire quite frequently: someone is speaking loudly on his or her cellphone, chewing gum like a cow, riders who are about to get on are not allowing passengers to get off and baby strollers taking up the entire entrance/exit to the vehicle.
Now, these are only just a small number of incidents that take place on most public agencies around the world. One organization is now calling these people out with a new politeness campaign in a bid to urge people to be more polite.
RATP, a Paris transit company, launched the new ads in the hopes of encouraging the bad-mannered individuals to refrain from their rude behaviour. According to France 24, 97 percent of riders had witnessed “uncivil” conduct on the city’s buses and metro lines. This led the agency to publish a top 10 list of most annoying acts committed by French commuters.
The campaign has various posters across the city and on buses, such as riders being depicted like animals as the humans are horrified by their ill-mannered actions. One placard has a sloth relaxing across a few seats and a buffalo shoving its way onto the train.
On its campaign website, it features several photos of most complained about actions on public transit, including a man squeezing a lady against the window with his massive bag, a man screaming on his mobile phone and lady who is forced to lean against the window because her neighbour has his newspaper spread wide out. Users can also create a caption for each image.
French polling firm Ipsos published a study that suggested 60 percent of the French say “lack of manners” is their No. 1 source of stress. Tourism Ministry chief Frederic Lefebvre somewhat identified the nation’s known rudeness to a group of tourism professionals in New York last week.
“We would like to make a strong effort to improve the sense of welcoming in France,” said Lefebvre. “We are number one in the world in terms of the number of tourists (76.8 million in 2010). But, in terms of sales, we are very far behind the US.”