Backpacks are the biggest annoyances on Japanese trains, according to a new survey. The Japan Private Railway Association asked almost 3000 commuters for their three worst peeves about travelling by train, and “luggage-related annoyances” came top for 37% of people. It was followed by “noisy or disruptive behaviour” and “sitting in an inconsiderate way”, reports Japan News.
Respondents gave more detail on their bag-related traumas in the survey, explaining that “I was hit with [someone’s bag]” and “it blocked my way”. The research suggests luggage is growing more annoying – it was ranked fourth in 2017 and third in 2018. Reasons given for the rise include more people wanting to have both hands free to use their smartphones. The government’s ‘Cool Biz’ campaign – which encourages workers to dress more casually to keep cool in summer – may also have increased the use of shoulder bags and rucksacks.
Other frustrations in the top ten for train users were barging past others, music leaking from headphones, using smartphones inconsiderately, drunkenness, putting on makeup, littering and eating loudly. Railway companies have asked passengers to carry their backpacks in front of them or use overhead racks.
Public-transport users tend to complain about similar things globally, although there are variations. An Australian survey found the biggest annoyance was sick commuters who sniffed and coughed. Barging past others topped a British survey, while a study of American drivers found Atlanta drivers the mellowest (and the most likely to drink iced tea) and LA’s the most stressed.
Commuting habits have changed over time, with one major gripe of the past – people unfolding and reading large newspapers – declining with the rise of smartphones. It’s been suggested that the rise of portable technology has also encouraged more people to multi-task and feel like transport is an extension of their home.
Sociologist Dr David Bissell says that traveller unhappiness usually has one source. “You might expect people to be annoyed by things like lack of investment in infrastructure or fares,” he told News.com.au. “But one of the most interesting things is our most common pet peeve is overwhelmingly other people and what they do.”
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