12 Jan 2010

Commuters avoid talking to other passengers - study

3:07 pm on 12 January 2010

Only a quarter of commuters talk to other passengers when they are using public transport, new research suggests.

The survey of 900 commuters found that people use mobile phones, reading and listening to music not only to pass the time, but also to draw a boundary defending their privacy.

Transport researcher Jared Thomas, of Victoria University, says his study found many commuters use reading and electronic devices to avoid conversation while travelling.

He says trains and buses should be better designed to encourage face-to-face conversation, as more sociable public transport would reduce crime and bad behaviour onboard by creating a community of regular passengers.

Dr Thomas says people are increasing the amount of time they spend on public transport, and could use this time to network or even find romance.