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The challenges of innovative and sustainable mobility – Part 2

Is it sociologically difficult to use public transport?

Article written with four hands by Sebastien Lopez and François Veauleger .

What is living well together? Let’s break down an open door, or whatever! In “public transport”, there is “in common”, which refers to knowing how to be or knowing how to live.

Manners serve others, not us. So, it’s true that you don’t serve many people by being glued to your phone, a scourge of our time. Imagine when you have two!

Do we still know how to say hello? I have the impression not, but tender his middle finger in the car, yes!

We are getting lost here, let’s get back to transport, most people will tell you, “I don’t feel comfortable in transport” and I understand them as the first culprit, what do you say when you get into a tram and everyone with their heads down on their smartphones.

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You realize that today, we are talking about everyday superheroes, the Supermans of small gestures. Isn’t it ridiculous to see that a hero nowadays is the one who says hello or leaves his place.

How many people pass by an empty bottle or a magazine left carelessly on the train or in the tram. How many take them to put them in the trash?

People bother us in transport and it’s a shame! our society is strong in this multiculturalism, let’s live it on a daily basis and not simply in a quest for a change of scenery during the holidays.

We can’t stand people anymore, we’re afraid of being approached or even just a smile. Accepting the other will not make you richer, more beautiful or less backward. But when someone smiles at you filled with gratitude, I can guarantee that you smile too, it works like a yawn.

As Vincent Trémolet de Villers writes in the pages of, “Living together”, these two words that can be linked with a hyphen appear more and more as the screen of our impotence and of our abandonments. The most elementary reality, the fact of living in relative sociability with one’s immediate environment, one’s compatriots, has become an inaccessible ideal.

Indeed, where does “living together” begin? The first space where human beings find themselves forced to share their existence with people they have not chosen is with their parents and possibly their brothers and sisters. The family is therefore the primary place for “living together”, but transport is by far the most uncomfortable today.

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Gradually, our society tends towards social phobia or social anxiety. Today, we feel anxious in a simple situation of interaction with other people. We fear the gaze and judgment of others, see we judge ourselves.

On a daily basis, we lock ourselves in our personal bubble to focus on our correspondence. Because indeed, we all know that for a public transport user, daily journeys involving a connection require: physical effort (+ important for some users) ; a cognitive effort (research and rapid interpretation of information relating to correspondence) ; emotional effort: correspondence that can be a source of concern (eg missing correspondence, feeling of insecurity, comfort, especially early in the morning or late in the evening).

And that is why, while it is a necessary evil, the tools of intermodality and multimodality unfortunately contribute to our isolation by giving us live information on our smartphone (about our direction, our platform, etc.) without having to ask for directions.

What about a social tool such as WAZE, COYOTE, allowing us to be guided in our daily journeys by public transport by interacting with others, by thanking others for their tips?

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What happened to us? Why do we no longer support the other, this refusal of the intrusion of a third party in our bubble. The morning in public transport is the best example.

Like the Rooster or the village bells, we can no longer stand children crying on trains (should they suffer the same fate as Maurice le Coq?), but on the contrary we have no problem answering the phone and disturbing other travelers. .

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I also have the impression that we mixed racism and bigotry in a generic way, to obtain a rejection of the other or rather, a “do not come to e……..der me! “.

Unfortunately, public transport has become the melting pot, even the window displaying this new malaise that is “I no longer know how to live together”.

A law against incivility in public transport even reinforced in 2016, the power of SNCF and RATP agents illustrating a change in our society.

So tell yourself that if you are respectful, many others are not. Do you risk getting hit on the face by telling someone that it would be good form to give up their place to an elderly person? pick up a magazine left abandoned on a seat? Let’s do it! not to show that you are a hero but that it is natural.

Imagine, in 2012, Paul Coustin in the figaro had even drawn up the list of the worst incivilities on the RATP network, a humorous advertising campaign had been launched to ” remind us that it was not good” , 96% Ile-de-France residents had found it useful, phew!

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A small anthology of what we could read in 2012 (it must still be good in 2019):

  • Talk loudly on your cell phone: 86%
  • Jump over turnstiles: 83%
  • Leaving your newspaper on a seat: 80%
  • Getting into the vehicle without letting other travelers get off: 78%
  • Not validating your ticket or Navigo pass: 75%
  • Not standing on the right on a treadmill or an escalator: 75%
  • Eating on trains or buses: 73%
  • Going through a turnstile by sticking to another traveler without asking them: 73%
  • Jostling without apologizing when trying to get in or out of a vehicle: 71%
  • Remain seated on a folding seat during busy periods: 69%
  • etc.

Let’s end with a cliche; You are neither a policeman nor a vigilante. But together we can help each other. We can give visibility to good manners in public transport and make you want to want (RIP Johnny) to take them.

Public transport, but above all being in common will always be our future and the most beautiful BHLS, Tramway, Electric Autonomous Bus will only remain efficient empty shells, if users can no longer travel together.

Let’s ensure that our transport projects and our networks are the receptacle of a utopia of well-being and that our chains of daily mobility are filled with meeting places allowing users to communicate and relearn how to live together.

As players in mobility, we must make users themselves players in the implementation of mobility that is not more efficient, but capable of living together. Let them open the field of possibilities without holding back.

But that we will detail later!

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