When I was younger, I seldom ever ventured into the city alone or even with friends. The city always seemed like a big, scary, unfamiliar place; plus, it was always out of the way so I often opted to go somewhere closer for a day out. It was only on special occasions that I would go to the city, be it for dinner with my family or a shopping day in the CBD.

So when City Experience came around in Year 9, it was like venturing into uncharted grounds, into a new world that I knew nothing about. I remember my sister, who went to university in the city at the time, warning me beforehand of some ‘rules’ that I had to know before starting my week of daily commutes to the city.

Now, having to travel up to the city every day for university as I do and now being a frequent city-goer myself, these ‘rules’ have been ingrained into me too. And seeing high school students on the train coming up for their City Experience from time to time, I thought it would be a good idea to impart the wisdom that my sister gave to me:

1.     Let people out first before going in

Now this is just a general rule for public transport in general, but unless you live in the city, taking public transport will become a long, daily ordeal. So keep in mind, when the train/tram/bus you’ve been waiting for has arrived, let the people on board exit before going on yourself. The journey up to the city is one made by many every day, so often it is very packed. By simply waiting for some space to clear on the train before coming on, it’s just common sense isn’t it? Plus, it’s just common courtesy.

2.     Don’t crowd entrances

Adding onto that, don’t crowd the entrances either. This of course doesn’t apply to times when there is no choice but for the entrance to be crowded (which is very often) but when people squish up at the entrance of the train/tram while there is still plenty of space in the aisles. I see school kids do this a lot. They come onto the train and then just…stop. This is not just individual people by the way, it’s a whole crowd of people entering at once and creating a clog at the door. By crowding the entrance, you only make it harder for people to get in and out. You spend enough time being sardined on public transport on the way to the city, why needlessly subject yourself to it even more when you can simply move into the aisles and create more space?

Also a tip: If you’re on a train/tram/bus that is packed to the brim and you’re near the entrance, hop off for a while to give space for people to get out (don’t worry about not being able to get back on, you’re first in line to do so!).

3.     Don’t be too noisy on the train

Now this isn’t to say you have to be dead silent, just don’t be obnoxiously loud. Be aware and respectful of your surroundings; most people around you will probably be very tired after having to stay up late or having a busy day at work. A lot of people take the train ride as an opportunity to catch up on a bit of sleep.  

4.     Right: fast lane, Left: stand still

This is an important one that I only learnt during city experience. While travelling on escalators remember to stand on the left if you’re planning to stand still, and if you find yourself on the right then you’re required to walk your way up/down. The right lane is essentially a fast lane for those who are in a hurry or can’t be bothered waiting the time it takes for the escalator to reach the top. If you stand still on the right lane, rest assured that there will be a line of very annoyed people behind you waiting for you to start walking.

5.     Don’t block walkways

The city is at most times very crowded. On top of that, many of the people making up the crowds are very busy and have places to be. The last thing they need is a line of people walking side by side at a very slow pace, essentially creating a wide wall blocking an entire walkway. I know it’s great and exciting to explore the city with your friends but remember that you’re sharing the space with a lot of other people. You aren’t required to walk side by side with your friends every step of the way, walking behind one another, maybe with a partner works too.


Really, the core of all of these ‘rules’ is to be mindful of your surroundings. Be aware of the people around you and be respectful and you won’t have a suited businessman or tired fourth year uni student side-eyeing you annoyingly from the corner of the train.   

-       Anna :>