Catching the bus has got to be among the top 3 most uncomfortable modes of transport for a tall person. Like most things in this world, that are tailored for a person of average height, the seating on the bus is no exception. When I first started catching the bus I would often find myself having to sit diagonally and in turn taking up two seats; this is fine when travelling at non-peak times when the bus isn’t full but in the morning or afternoon when everyone is trying to get to work and wants a seat I would get angry glances or comments (as if I can do anything about the fact I am tall and that the bus seats are designed for shorter people).
As a tall person you quickly have to learn how to adapt to your environment and make yourself as comfortable as possible otherwise you will struggle, stick out and look awkward. I have thus created this guide to show you (based on my experience) where the most comfortable seats are on a typical bus in Australia and how you can make your commute more enjoyable. The overall seating layout may be different for buses in other countries but the principles mentioned will be the same.
Below is a sketch of the typical seating layout for a bus in Australia. On occasion on some newer buses this seating arrangement may vary but for most buses this is what it looks like:
The first thing that might strike you is that generally there aren’t too many comfortable seats (indicated by a green tick) on a bus for a tall person (welcome to the world of being a giant)!
My biggest issues with bus seats are:
- The distance between seats.
- The height of the seat relative to the floor.
- The width of each individual seat.
With these points in mind I will first point out the most uncomfortable seats that tall people should avoid:
- The seat directly behind the bus driver or behind the screen separating the seat from the entrance onto the bus – these seats have the least leg room of all the seats (the barrier in front comes straight down and you cannot slide your feet underneath). If you decide to brave this seat be prepared to sit diagonally.
- The seat directly behind the screen separating the seat from the rear entrance onto the bus. Same as above – the barrier gives minimal room for your feet.
- The seat where the rear bus wheel cap sticks out – the floor is elevated so if you attempt to sit here your knees will either hit the back of the head of the person sitting in front of you (not good) or at the very least the back of the chair rest.
- The seats directly in front of the seats at the back – the walk way towards the back of the bus slowly rises and these seats have their own little elevated platform to level out the floor space at the back of the bus. Sitting here will again force you to sit sideways or press into the back of the chair with your knees.
Now that you know which seats to avoid let me share with you my tips on where to find the most spacious and comfortable seats:
- Without a doubt the most spacious and comfortable seats are the seats at the front of the front of the bus reserved for the disabled, elderly or mothers with young children. Generally sitting here during rush hour is a bit of a gamble (although the payoff is great if you succeed) as they tend to fill up.
- The second best seats are those at the very back of the bus, in particular the very center seat which allows you to stretch your feet out into the walkway. Alternatively I’ve found that all the seats at the back of the bus tend to have ample leg room.
- Another set of spacious seats are those seats 2 rows from the back seats and directly in front of the seats on the elevated platform. For some reason unknown to me the leg room here is greater compared to other seats.
I’ve seen on some newer buses that instead of the 2 standard separate seats next to each other there is one wide seat. This is a game changer in terms of comfort, allowing you to sit at any seat (excluding the seat above the wheel) because you can sit in the middle and spread your legs out.
If for whatever reason all the ‘good’ seats are taken then your best best is to sit diagonally in an aisle seat and stretch your legs out into the walkway.
In other countries the bus seating I’ve found is unfortunately not as good as Australia. I recently came back from a ski trip to Hakuba, Japan (a country not designed for tall people at all), and every morning catching the bus to the ski fields (carrying all my ski gear) was a nightmare. The seats on the bus were so uncomfortable and close together that the only option was to pretty much sit sideways. The bus would fill up quite quickly with other tourists so not only did I feel bad for taking up 2 seats but I must have looked very awkward too.
Can you relate to any of these struggles or do you have any additional tips / hacks that you can share with us all? Let me know in the comments below.
Stand tall and be proud.