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Are Work-Related Phone Calls on the Bus Forgivable?

If you live in a city that relies on public transportation, you've probably noticed that the buses are becoming seemingly fuller each day. Gas prices are getting more people to sacrifice their cozy car commutes for an expectedly more frustrating commute on public transportation. Last night, while standing my way through my entire commute home, I witnessed this not-uncommon scene.

A 20-something woman held a conversation on her BlackBerry for a good 20 minutes, and the discussion she was having was obviously work-related and she was speaking to a coworker. The two women sitting beside her complained loudly about how rude it was for this woman to be talking on her phone during their commute. One woman said she was getting a headache, and the other kept shaking her head in disbelief and saying that the whole thing reminded her of a Dilbert cartoon.

I can't say that I'm never annoyed when other commuters have endless personal conversations, but I wasn't irritated that this woman was getting work done on her commute home. Her productivity wasn't done in an overly obnoxious way, and she wasn't gesturing wildly with her words. Do you think work conversations on the bus are forgivable, or are they just as bad as personal phone conversations?


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i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
*personal oops!
i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 9 years
I agree with an above poster. Many times, 2 people talking are more loud and obnoxious than someone on their phone. But work and important or super-short non-important calls please! The other day I was on the train and this woman was being sooo loud on her phone though. It was a "personal" conversation which wasn't that person because she was talking about so and so hooked up so and so and so and so got into a run-in with the cops... lovely stuff.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
I hate when people talk loud in general. I get annoyed very easily.
talknerrdytome talknerrdytome 9 years
I can't judge someone for getting work done during their commute, but if it were me, I would try to limit the conversation to a few minutes, rather than 20. I realize that, work-related or not, my conversations are most likely only interesting to me. Also, I might point out that if the woman in this particular situation was using a Blackberry, she could easily have had the conversation via e-mail or instant messaging, which is what I normally do in public places.
emalove emalove 9 years
This wouldn't bother me unless she was talking really loudly and being annoying. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't even notice.
Lynne Lynne 9 years
I'm just glad she wasn't DRIVING while on her cell phone. Those are the people that shouldn't be forgiven.
Gabriela14815884 Gabriela14815884 9 years
I totally agree with jacrabbit84! I really don't get what the big deal is. I will admit there are times where someone is talking on the phone loudly and its annoying but I get over it - why? Because they can do whatever they want its public transportation. If someone calls me personal or professional I'm gonna pick up the call, I talk low and try not to bother anyone around me but thats all I can really do.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Look, I'm sorry, but at 7am I do not want to hear you gabbing with your sister-in-law for 20 minutes about what a beyotch your other sister is. Or whatever. There are a lot of people using public transit, and I think conversations should be restricted to quiet ones amongst your people sitting next to you (assuming please, that you actually know them). I don't have an issue with a 1-5 minute work or personal related call. People have kids, or are meeting someone after they get off the train, etc. But there is no reason for a 20 minute conversation!
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 9 years
People should be able to talk on the phone as long and as often as they want to on public transportation as long as they are not being loud and obnoxious. That’s just common courtesy. I wish people would just mind their own business. Stay in your zone and I’ll stay in mine.
em113 em113 9 years
I sleep on the train all the time. I hug my belongings tightly and set an alarm so I don't miss my stop. I don't think it's unsafe. I'm lucky though, if I'm tired I can sleep regardless of if people around me are being loud. I really hate when people talk really loudly on public transportation, bet it with each other or on the phone. It's not that hard to speak in a soft tone. I think work calls are acceptable but should be kept to a minimum. I think personal calls or ridiculous. When someone calls me while I'm on the train I keep it short and tell them I'll call them later. I understand that people think it's convenient to catch up with friends during their commute, but it's also selfish. The people I know personally that do this tend to be self-centered types that don't consider other people around them.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I don't think it's ever rude to talk on the phone when you're on the bus unless you are riding with someone you know. If you're not saying things other people shouldn't or talking loudly it's all good.
gabiushka gabiushka 9 years
Sure, since the bus is a very safe place to catch some zzz... come on!
thelorax thelorax 9 years
LOL @ the prison boyfriend scenario, what is wrong with her?? And I completely agree with KM224, I ride a commuter bus that departs at 6:30 a.m., and the ride is close to an hour -- you can imagine that lots of people use this time to catch some ZZzzZZ's. Of course you need to be aware of the people around you, and if they're trying to sleep, SHUT UP! But if everyone else is talking around you, I don't see any harm in talking on your phone as long as you're not being loud and obnoxious.
stephley stephley 9 years
My favorite was a woman who spoke in a very loud voice on the bus while telling her phone friend all about her various boyfriends and their prison terms, and how she could only wait three months for a man after that she's a free woman again. I see a lot of the same people every day on the bus or on weekends downtown, and any time I see her with a guy I wonder which crime he was in for.
KMM224 KMM224 9 years
This is one of my biggest pet peeves.. ESPECIALLY in the morning. If you look around the bus/train and 98% of the people are asleep.. its probably not a good idea to talk on your phone or really at all. Now QUIETLY taking a phone call and keeping it short and sweet is understandable. Even the bus/train has signs up saying keep your voice and music down. I could go on forever about this, so I'll just leave it at that :)
natalie5785 natalie5785 9 years
i'm typically annoyed at loud people on the bus period, including people on the phone. but to be honest, if i'm on the bus it means i'm going to work, and if i'm going to work i'm probably annoyed anyway. :-P yes, the bus is public, but the bus isn't public the same way the sidewalk is public. on the sidewalk, if someone is making a lot of noise i can move away from them. on the bus, i'm in a confined space and can't just get off whenever i feel like it, so if someone in my personal space is offensively loud, i just have to take it and that sucks. you do what you have to do, but don't be surprised if your fellow passengers wish you ill. that being said, i do think the other women's behavior was out of line.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
i sometimes get irritated by loud phone conversations on the bus, because there's no way to escape them. yes, it's public space, but i think it's important to think about the comfort of the people around you, too. that said, i think it's understandable when people need to take a work call, as long as they keep the volume to a minimum and try to keep it brief. i do the same.
mjane79 mjane79 9 years
It depends. If it's an emergency call, then it's not a problem. If it's something that can wait until you get to the office, then wait. If you are on the phone, though, be aware of the other people around you, what you are talking about and how loud you are. Sometimes, you can't avoid being on the phone in that kind of setting.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
Yeah it sounds like the women who were annoyed were really the annoying ones. Yesterday I thought there was going to be a fight on the bus, but it was about personal maybe the child-ish behavior is better...
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
She should have taken out some aspirin and passed it to the lady with the headache and continued. What is the difference, I hear people discussing their baby daddy and other sexual events in their lives. I think a business call is fine, I doubt the lady was loud.
karisaamy karisaamy 9 years
It's Public! Therefore you can talk to who ever you want. Just as long as you aren't talking about your sex life or something that is just not cool to share with the public I don't care.
mlen mlen 9 years
i would say if you are regularly conducting business on teh bus everyday- that could get annoying- but if you have to take a business call every once in a while then its fine- sometimes you just gotta take the call!
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
I'm with Liss. If what you're doing is holding up other people's day, it's one thing. But it's a public space and I'm not hurting you by having a conversation, personal OR work related. If you don't like the people you have to deal with when you take public transportation, suck it up and take your car.
Angelica Angelica 9 years
This is a really sore subject for me. I have a 25-30 minute bus ride to work and a couple times a week this really rude woman gets on and dials in to a conference call on her BlackBerry. She has many enemies on the bus (people will ask her to get off the phone and make tskkk noises at her) but she continues on it anyway. I don't know what she does, but the calls are always slightly unprofessional and she will talk about how she is upsetting the other people on the bus, but stay on the phone. It drives me bonkers!
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I like what jessy777 said. How is this different from 2 people having a conversation? Except you can only hear one side of it? I mean if someone is yelling into their phone, then yea that could be rude, but talking on the phone is not rude. I mean really, I think it's a good idea to put that time to good use. Some people spend a good amount of time on public transportation. They're supposed to just waste their time sitting around? Why Not get some work done?
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