Unwritten Rules for Using the Stockholm Underground

The underground travels on the left but people walk to the right. If you happen to walk to the left at any point in the passageways you will confuse and irritate people. And you may be trampled. However, this does not apply to the escalators. Here you stand to the right and walk to the left.

  • If someone parks themselves in the middle of the escalator, do not say ‘excuse me’. Stand very close behind them, sigh loudly and roll your eyes.
  • When you embark look for an empty row. Only after all the empty rows are populated is it polite to sit next to someone.
  • Do not make eye contact
  • Do not smile at anyone
  • Do not take up more space than the tiny bubble around you
  • If you wish to get up, move past the person sitting beside you and get off the train do not make verbal contact. Instead, fiddle with the strap of your bag or make a slight movement. If all else fails, merely barge past them to get off.
  • Do not stand up for the elderly, the pregnant or the infirm.
  • Ignore designated seating for those with special needs.
  • Ignore those with baby carriages and wheelchairs
  • Ignore anybody begging, having a seizure, farting, speaking loudly, harassing another passenger. If you feel you have to react then sighing and rolling your eyes is acceptable.
  • Note that the weirdos usually take up the seats at the end of the carriages so scan for these before you sit down.
  • If a train is packed full and there is an empty seat, this usually means that there is a weirdo in the vicinity or that someone has vomited or peed on the seat. Check carefully before approaching.
  • It is polite to stand back and allow disembarking passengers to alight before getting onto the train. Once you are free to get on though, ignore the elderly, the infirm, walkers, prams and pregnant people. First to an empty seat wins!
  • If a weirdo starts hassling you (this can be begging, smiling at you, talking to you, vomiting all over you, talking to him or herself) do not make eye contact. Look straight ahead and get off at the next station. Or move to another seat, following all the rules above.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

5 thoughts

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