Is it too loud for you on the bus or tube?

I was travelling to work by bus for a few months. It took one and a half hours each way. After completing a full day of teaching primary aged children, I could not stand listening to loud, poor quality music played on someone else’s MP3 player or phone.

I wrote a brief email to London Transport at asking them if anything can be done or if it was a ‘put up and shut up’ thing.

Below is the response I received.

Thank you for your recent email regarding passengers playing loud music without headphones on buses.

As a regular bus traveller myself, I totally understand that it can be extremely annoying when another passenger’s behaviour interferes with your bus journey. And we agree that playing music through a device such as a mobile phone, which everyone can hear is totally unacceptable on any form of public transport. In combating this and many other public order problems, we recognise the value of public messages in deterring offenders and encouraging respect for fellow passengers.

We’ve recently begun placing posters in bus shelters asking passengers to keep their music down; from March we will also be placing these posters inside all London buses. I attach a copy of this poster.

In addition, as you may know, the Mayor has just announced the development of a pan-modal publicity campaign intended to reduce anti social behaviour (including playing loud music without headphones). We expect the campaign to within the next few months.

Unfortunately, we’ve found that simply reminding passengers without enforcement does not always have a significant effect in tackling problems of anti-social behaviour, especially as the protagonists are often unconcerned that their activity is having a detrimental effect on other passengers. This is why our Policing and Enforcement Directorate and Publicity department are carefully considering the strategy for the most effective campaign of raising awareness of the annoyance caused by such behaviour, and effectively tackling it. This will hopefully avoid the need to take draconian measures such as a complete ban on music players and mobile phones from our buses.

If you would like information about the hard work we are undertaking to ensure your bus service is safer and more pleasant, please click on the following web-links.

Thank you once again for getting in touch. Please feel free to contact me again if I can be of any further assistance.
Kind regards

Customer Services

London transport want feedback ~ positive and negative.

If you need to report anything please email: ~

Too loud

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Suraj Shah · May 7, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Dear Heena,

There are certain times of the day when the bus or tube is packed with passengers, and often one person’s loud music disturbs many people around them.

Have you or any other readers of this site used ‘social pressure’ to encourage other affected passengers to speak up and ask the person listening to the music to turn their volume down? The idea is not so much to gang up on that person, but to caringly have enough people ask them to turn the volume down. Surely if there are 8 other people putting the request across, change is more likely to happen?

I wonder if such ‘social pressure’ experiments have been carried out in London or anywhere else in the world…?

With love,

Heena Modi · May 7, 2008 at 4:42 pm

Hey Suraj,

I’m not sure about whether experiments of this sort have been carried out around the world but I have myself approached someone very calmly and politely and asked them to turn their music down.

They were playing religious melodies very loudly. Although I didn’t understand it I actually thought it sounded nice. The only thing is that it was being blasted and i’d had a difficult day with the kids and wanted to chill before going home.

I don’t think members of the public should be forced to listen to someone else’s music or prayers.

I guess you have a few choices; put up and shut up, get off the bus/move from wherever you are or approach the person directly. Can’t think of any more right now.

The thing about informing London Transport was so that they have an overview of whether it affects people or not. They wouldn’t know otherwise right?

Anyway thanks for your comment 🙂

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