Livid Londoners reveal their commuting pet peeves

For many of us, commuting by public transport is an unavoidable part of working in London. This means that everyday thousands upon thousands of humans are packaged up and sent hurtling along dark Tubes deep underground.

Given the unpleasant and unnatural environments commuters endure, along with the inescapable proximity to a high volume of other humans, it’s not surprising that tempers are tested, and can quickly become frayed.

But which behaviours are most likely to enrage the fellows sharing your carriage? A new poll by YouGov, reported in the Evening Standard, reveals that it is in fact the malodorous whiff of poor personal hygiene which will drive those near you into paroxysms of rage. Yes; number one on the list of “hates”, is having to stand or sit next to a smelly person on the Tube, bus or train.

After the stinkers, next on the list are those unsanitary souls who deign to cough or sneeze, but fail to put their hand up to help block the snotty discharge.

Germs clearly get us all quite aggravated, but on the whole, women find germ dissemination even more irritating than men. According to the poll, 48% of women, compared to 30% of men named “germ spreaders” among their most hated travelling companions.

Meanwhile, space hogs (those who “hog space”, rather than cosmic swine) were found to irritate younger passengers more than older commuters. About 25% of those aged 18-24 complained about their fellow commuters taking up too much room when seated, compared to around 12.5% who were over 40.

But the oldies have no patience when it comes to use of mobile phones. A third of Londoners said it was among the worst behaviour inflicted upon them during their commute, but for those aged over 60, 40% singled out phone usage for particular contempt.

Other wrath-inducing conduct which commuters highlighted was the playing of loud music on headphones, use of bad language (swearing, rather than inarticulacy) and the wearing of backpacks.

Do these grievances change at different times of year? Back in January, a separate YouGov poll asked Londoners to list their top transport peeves. And that time, not moving down inside a carriage came top (38%), closely followed by people who play loud music on their headphones (37%).

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