I ride the bus to work every day. It's my time to do things like read, surf the net, email, sleep. The seats are comfortable (when you can get one) and I don't stress out in Houston traffic. I live in Magnolia, northwest of Houston and work at the Texas Medical Center which is south of downtown. So to get to the Med Center I have to take a bus from Cypress to the transit center, then change to a bus to the Med Center. Coming in is fine, the buses work like clockwork. Coming home is a different story. Sometimes I don't leave my office at the right time, and end up just missing a bus. And for some reason in the morning, the buses run every 10 minutes but the afternoon they only run every 15 minutes. Then when I get to the transit center, we usually just miss that bus and have to wait. And then that bus is the one that is full a lot. So I end up standing about once a week, but it's only about a 30 minute ride, so it's not bad.
So here is where the etiquette comes in. When I get on the bus, if there is a completely empty seat, I move to the window so there is room for someone else. Most of the buses are like airplanes, FULL. If I'm on the first bus where I have to change, I try and get on the front or if on a double bus, by the back door. When I'm coming home or on the last bus in the morning where I'm the second to last stop, I go to the back.
There are all these people that get on and either pile all their stuff in the other seat or sit on the aisle so no one else can sit with them. Then they pretend to be asleep. So you have to stand there and say, excuse me, I need a seat, then they begrudgingly move over like you are incoveniencing them.
Then there are the people that have to sit in the front seat that are reserved for handicapped. I saw a guy on crutches have to sit in the back to the bus and struggle down the aisle. I was so embarrassed for the etiquette handicapped on the bus.
Finally there are the people that have their music blaring through their headphones so loud that you can hear it 3 seats away. One middle aged lady (my age) had her music blaring through the bluetooth and was sitting in front of me. Luckily, I listen to books and put my headphones on and could drown her out.
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of very nice people on the bus. The majority is totally polite. And EVERYONE thanks the bus driver as they get off the bus. I'm not sure you see that in other cities. We have one hilarious bus driver on the Med Center route in the mornings. Since I don't always leave at the same time, so I get a range of bus drivers within a 30 minute window. This guy is of Indian descent and is so cheerful before dawn!! He says things like: morning, morning, morning when you get on. Then as you are leaving he always wishes you a good day in a very cheery voice! He is such a delight. The majority of the bus drivers are very cordial! There are a couple of sour pusses, but most of them are wonderful.
The overall experience is very worth it not to have to hassle with traffic, driving, wear and tear on your car. Also it is helpful for the environment. Houston metro is now driving some hybrid buses!