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'Lazy' Malmö commuters given lesson on how to ride

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 25 Feb 2011, 10:38

Published: 25 Feb 2011 10:38 GMT+01:00

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The opening of the City Tunnel was heralded as a huge step for the southern Swedish city's transition to a major urban area, but two months after its inauguration the local transport operator has felt obliged to explain big city etiquette to new riders.

"We have had a large number of people getting in touch, with a number of demands for how one should behave. It is a question of etiquette and was worthy of addressing," Ulrika Mebius at local transport operator Skånetrafiken, told The Local on Friday.

The transport operator used its regular sponsored article feature in the local edition of the Metro newspaper to detail the problem and call for change to improve the comfort and well-being of commuters in the city's transport system.

In the article entitled, "Everyone wants to be first onboard", train manager Fredrik Adolfsson presents the rush hour reality of his day.

"Sometimes I have to physically hold people back on the platform, to stop them from pushing their way onboad and preventing people from getting off the train."

Adolfsson argued that the problem is perhaps a result of a new big city, high stress mentality emerging in Malmö, observing that in nearby Vellinge people queue orderly for the morning bus.

He also complained that travellers in Malmö are "lazy" and that all want to get on the first carriage to save the walk up the platform.

While Ulrika Mebius underlined that Frerik Adolfsson would have to stand for his own opinions, she revealed that the City Tunnel and in particular the redesign of the platforms at Malmö central station has perhaps contributed to the situation.

"There is a wide perception that the trains are packed, but in fact the problem is that many have not bothered to move further up the platform and use the carriages in the middle of the train which are often empty," she said.

Mebius indicated that perhaps the problem is more due in fact to a lack of experience of big city life, which has left Malmö residents ill-equipped to deal with the new means of getting around.

Story continues below…

"This problem in itself is nothing new really, but the escalators are perhaps a new experience for Malmö residents - in that you should stand on the right and allow people to pass. We are perhaps less used to this than in other cities."

Skånetrafiken's attempts to address the problem and encourage better behaviour among travellers has met with mixed reaction from locals.

"This is down to interpretation. This is a recurring and ongoing discussion and it is stimulating that the the question has engaged people - there are those who agree and others who argue that the situation isn't so bad," Ulrika Mebius said.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:23 February 25, 2011 by HYBRED
Yeah, I tired of waiting for people to move so I could get off the train. Now when I get off the train and someone is standing there in front of the door I just walk through them.
12:27 February 25, 2011 by UScitizen
WoW! A new big city, high stress mentality has emerged in Malmö.

And "the escalators are perhaps a new experience for Malmö residents."

WoW! Welcome to the 21st century, Malmö........ glad you could finally make it!

I wonder when they'll get sliced bread?
12:53 February 25, 2011 by EP
Sounds like a typical day in Stockholm to me ... they push here too. Bunch of rude people.

Skånetrafiken though should concentrate on getting their trains winter-proof. Far poorer countries run trains in much worse winter conditions, but in Skåne, everything stops. They can build a bridge, a tunnel, but have problem when the frozen tracks ...

And yet they want to promote the accessibility and ease of working between Copenhagen and Malmö/Lund. Certainly not in winter time ...
13:13 February 25, 2011 by joolzg
Well as an englishman i have to say i am always shocked at how rude swedes in general are, you get no "Sorry" or "Excuse Me". They seem oblivious to other poeple.

I had the same travelling with my daughter when she was around 3 months old, waited for the train to stop and the guy behind me pushed me sidways to get on before i did, just because i had a pram and would have take all of 30 seconds.

Manners maketh man, as my nan always said, its a shame not many people here have any at all.

13:44 February 25, 2011 by nyh2o
this is a regular thing in stockholm. I was sooo surprised initially when I came here about how people had no idea how to form a line to get on the freakin bus!! how is it that no one has taught them? why is it something that needs to be taught? isnt it obvious? in the US if anyone tries to do this they get angry looks from the other passengers and a stern talk by the driver---not here though, everyones looking in a different direction, making sure not to make any eye contact and pushing their way through. insane. given swedes are so good with following directions of authority, they should print out and post these etiquette guidelines at all of the bus stops. once they know trafikverket wants them to behave, they'll follow.

and as for malmö, they have a lot to learn before they learn manners.
13:45 February 25, 2011 by Kalyissa
I'm from the UK also joolzg and I have found absolutely no difference between here and London manners wise.

Everyone complains that the Swedes have a lack of manners. Compared to London they are a lot better.
14:14 February 25, 2011 by matona1
another problem caused by immigrants
14:29 February 25, 2011 by William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha
This is hilarious. I have a picture of all these people stood at the bottom of the escalator scratching their heads in confusion as one brave sole dares to poke it with a stick to see what happens.
14:43 February 25, 2011 by Syftfel
Based on my own anecdotal observations, here's the answer. As usual media reports half a story, and leaves important aspects out. What the story should have made reference to, is the plethora of cultural habits which exist in today's shores. Malmö, being the epicenter of new arrivals to our country - often from non-western cultures where phenomena such as courtesy, consideration for others, humbleness, chivalry and fairness - operate with an entirely, different set of value points and behavioral norms than Swedes. Yes, there is an occasional obnoxious aborigenee, but Sweden needs to do a lot more to intergrate its newcomers.
14:51 February 25, 2011 by UScitizen
@ matona1

I was waiting for the first cockroach to come crawling out.

CONGRADULATIONS! You're the winner. It's easy to say "the article says uneducated and lazy..... must be immigrants!" It's probably people more like you whe think they're so important and don't have time to be bothered with others.
14:57 February 25, 2011 by Shazzer
Hej Skånetrafiken...how about running the trains on time before you start telling Malmö commuters they "don't know how to ride" them?

Part of the reason that people don't walk further down the platform is because they need to be near one of the (very long and slow-moving) escalators if there's a track change...which happens with alarming regularity. The lack of understanding of the "stand on the right, walk on the left" rule is frustrating at times...but there is no signage to remind people of it and in my experience it's usually a tourist who's bottling things up.

Also, having been jammed up on the limited number of platforms in actual use during the last two years of the CityTunnel project, combined with the regular occurrence of "short trains" due to weather-related break-downs, Malmö commuters are used to crowded conditions and probably expect them. This morning was the first time I've heard a staff member announce the availability of seats in a specific section of the train since the new station opened. I'm sure of the people on board were shocked to hear it.
15:01 February 25, 2011 by Twiceshy
@William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha:

Great mental picture :D
15:34 February 25, 2011 by Rick Methven
@William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha:

Brought up memories of when the first moving walkway was installed in my wife's home town. The mother-in-law needed prodding and holding before she would get on it
17:48 February 25, 2011 by Soft Boiled
Actually I can tell what works in Stockholm. If while leaving the tube you are confronted by a semi-circle of locals like some kind of Zulu film from the late 1960s. Walk right up to the person blocking your path, stand right in front of them while keeping eye contact. It will not take more than 2-3 seconds before they start moving out of the way. Asking politely if you they can move doesn´t seem to be the stockholm style. Hope this helps ;)

Btw this techique doesn´t work on blind people!
18:17 February 25, 2011 by CanadianInMalmo
Haha - this story is all too true, but it can be extended to buses too. It's like the moment there isn't a box telling people to take a number and get in line, it's f'n chaos. Perhaps there is some award given to whoever can push past as many people to board transit first. I'm sure it's being tracked somehow.

And the escalator thing is just one more place where Swedes can exhibit their extraordinary skill of 'always being in the way'. I cannot count how many times in a day there is a group of people gathered and talking right in front of a door, or at the top of a set of stairs - just camped right out, totally oblivious to everyone else squeezing every which way just to get by.

I love Sweden, but this is one of those things that makes me shake my head.
18:34 February 25, 2011 by roaringchicken92
@William Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha:

18:39 February 25, 2011 by bearcat13
Typical arrogance that is socialist Sweden. If the Swedes would get out of Sweden, they'd actually realize how big cities and their people operate. Maybe they could offer government paid classes to sort this out...
19:38 February 25, 2011 by Åskar

A friend of mine used to say how Londoners are SO better at letting people get off underground cars than Stockholmers so I started to make observations. The result was I came to the conclusion that Stockholmers are far better at it.
23:54 February 25, 2011 by spg
To the people of Malmö. Here are a few simple rules for traveling on the t-bana as used by the extremly polite and good manered people of Stockholm.

1. If you dont have a ticket dont worry. Just jump over the barrier or physicaly hug the back of one of those stupid people who paid to use the train as they go through the turnstile.

2. once on the platform make a phone call on your new/robbed I phone 4, making sure you speak so loud the whole station can hear you. Dont forget to spit on the floor every 30-40 seconds.

3. If you are eating a gourmet meal,(a big mac), throw the wrapper on the floor. It gives someone a job cleaning up so you are actually helping the economy,

4. As soon as the doors open push your way onto the train without waiting for the other passangers to get off. Its their own fault for not being faster. Even better if they have a pram!!

5. If there are only 2 seats free always make sure you sit down on1 and put your feet on the other before any pensioners get them. They have been standing and working all their lives. They should be used to it!!

6. during the journey why not make another important loud volume phone call. Maybe you could use the phone in your other pocket. Heaven forbid the I phone should be getting tracked.

7. When at your destination wait until the doors start to close before you try and get off. This way you get to physicaly open the doors which in turn could brake them and delay the train for a long time. Dont worry about the other passangers. They know the risks when they take the train.

8. On the way to the cool "moving stairs" dont forget to clear your throat every 30-40 seconds

9. Once on the cool "moving stairs" always remember to stand on the left. The people moving up behind you will realise that they are the stupid ones using up so much energy. You are an educator!!

10. just before you leave the station clear your throat once more. This can be done on the window of the ticket seller. It will save them time cleaning.

These few simple rule will ensure that you will have a happy trouble free journey and the people around you will go home and stick pins in a voodoo with your happy face on it!!!

(sorry for spelling mistakes. I think The Local need a spell checker!!!)
00:27 February 26, 2011 by yannerix
Why haven't they installed these ingenious number-ticket dispensers in the City Tunnel? Seems those are holding the country together everywhere else.

Then again it is priceless to see the conductor throw a hissy fit and then lock themselves into their little compartment for the rest of the trip not checking tickets (or maintaining a safe trip for everyone) anymore because everyone is lazy, rude and uneducated.
09:30 February 26, 2011 by kenny8076
I always laugh here in Karlstad in storatorget when i am getting on a bus. i could be the first one in line on the curb where i know exactly where the bus will stop and be the tenth person to get on the bus hahaha. Sometimes i just step back and watch.......laugh. They all push, cut in line, ignore old people ect.... they are getting on the bus like they are evacuating a war zone......EVERY TIME!!
11:57 February 26, 2011 by johnny1939
SPG I like it!!! I have been on a lot of public transportation around the world.....none of them any fun except I really like the subway in Washington DC...very nice and clean. New York has gotten a lot better (Manhattan) loads of cops there and in the trains.
12:58 February 26, 2011 by McChatter
@ #15 CanadianInMalmö

Yes, I am in agreement! Doors always seem to present a problem to Swedes. Going through a door is a big decision and Swedes just aren't used to making decisions by themselves. 'Course, when you DO go through the door, what do you do next? Yep! Stop and check things out! Supermarket aisles are also a great place for "getting in the way". My solution? Ask 'em if they've just started a blockade and can you join in. It gets you some wonderful dirty looks, especially if you give them a really big smile!
12:58 February 26, 2011 by fireball1
I think they must have been getting lessons from the Danes as they are the most ignorant race I have come across when travelling. In Copenhagen they always try to get on the train before anyone gets off, they walk through you in the streets and can never say excuse me or sorry.
14:32 February 27, 2011 by Marc the Texan
Oh puh-lease. How is this any different from the train ride from CPH going in to Malmo. People act exactly the same today on that train as they did 10 years ago. Especially when it's packed like a sardine can.
08:08 February 28, 2011 by loudasthunder
The part about Swedes being Rude on public Buses and Trains is Very true.

This can even be witnessed in grocery stores and shopping malls.

After My first year, I became quite aware of "How it is" here. I have learned quite well "The Swedish ways" and now return the rudeness back to them.

I look forward to "Sh*t-Smacking" the next Rude Swede that attempts to push or shove Me aside, I dare them too : )
15:53 March 12, 2011 by mieoux
The people of Malmö are a special case though, they seem to be very different from normal Swedes from all the news reports I keep reading and watching. They seem to have some "issues".

Stockholm is a big city, Malmö is not, so big city stress is a bunch of hogwash.
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