Bad behaviour called out – Do you need train etiquette training?

Vaping on board, feet and bags on the seats, playing music or gasbagging loudly were some of the top bad train etiquette behaviours called out by Queensland Rail customers last year.

The rail operator received 865 pieces of etiquette related feedback throughout 2023 with the myriad of complaints about bad behaviour prompting a reminder for customer courtesy.

Queensland Rail spokesperson Tessa Hardy said a team of specialist Customer Journey Advisers responded to feedback via phone, email, in person and across its social media pages.

“With almost 47 million trips across South East Queensland (SEQ) last year, the vast majority of our customers did the right thing each and every day by respecting their fellow passengers and generally displaying great train etiquette,” Ms Hardy said.

“Sadly there were some spoiling the journey, with 215 complaints centred around smoking and drinking alcohol and 191 about loud music and conversations in the Quiet Carriage.

“We saw lots of feedback about vaping on trains or in stations, highlighting the habit – which is essentially smoking- is on the rise.

“One passenger told us they saw ‘four people vaping like no tomorrow in here’ and another saying ‘so many people vaping lately, very annoying for other travellers. Is this legal?’ via Facebook messages to Queensland Rail.

“It is illegal, with $309 in fines hitting the hip pocket of those caught breaking the rules.”

Ms Hardy urged train travellers to be mindful of fellow customers while commuting and at stations.

“One of the more obscure complaints was a customer witnessing young people throwing cookie dough at one another on the train, and in the past, we’ve even seen reports of someone painting their nails.

“We all lead chaotic lives but the feedback also reinforced the fact that our customers cherish peaceful reflection time in the designated Quiet Carriages.

“Our Quiet Carriages were introduced to the SEQ network in 2010 and are very popular for those wanting to relax, scroll mindlessly on their phones or perhaps read a book during their journey.

“Recently, a customer contacted us saying they were ‘getting very fed up with teens blaring their mumble rap on the train’ and while a rap tune might be one way to wind down – it’s not a banger for everyone.

“It’s self-explanatory but if you’re in the Quiet Carriages, turn the volume down on your devices, use headphones, and keep conversations to a low volume.”

Other prominent customer gripes were others not vacating priority seating; feet and bags on seats; and eating or drinking onboard.

“Give up your seat for pregnant women, seniors, people with a disability or customers travelling with an injury, particularly within priority seating areas,” Ms Hardy said.

“Our staff are on hand to help influence positive behaviour and promote good train etiquette through onboard and station posters, announcements, as well as through our website and on social media.

“Last year we educated 94,000 students through our dedicated Rail Safety Education program which also focuses on etiquette.

“We have more than 30 Authorised Officers, 11 canine teams at stations, and Guardian Trains at night with security officers onboard. These teams regularly patrol for anti-social behaviour and while Authorised Officers can issue fines, they can’t be everywhere at once.

“We’re appealing to our customers’ sense of decency – good train etiquette is key to ensuring everyone has a safe and happy trip on the rail network.”

Top train etiquette bad behaviours called out by SEQ customers in 2023.
Alcohol, drugs and smoking (includes vaping) 215
Noise in the Quiet Carriage 191
Feet and bags on seats 68
Personal devices (played too loudly) 42
Bikes on trains 36
Consuming food and drink on board22
Priority seating 19
Anti-social behaviour (onboard and at stations)14


  • Quiet in the quiet carriage – please do not talk loudly or play loud devices and keep noise to a minimum.
  • Keep feet on the floor, and not on seats.
  • Wait for others to disembark first.
  • Vacate priority seating for people with a disability, seniors, pregnant women or adults carrying children.
  • Don’t eat or drink onboard and take any litter with you.
  • Place your bag on your lap or under your seat.
  • Antisocial behaviour, like smoking or vaping is prohibited.


  • “Good morning QR disappointing that at 5am no seats are available. All the bags are well seated!”
  • “So many people vaping lately, very annoying for other travellers. Is this legal?”
  • “There are four people vaping like no tomorrow in here and it’s very strong.”
  • “Was travelling in a quiet carriage and two very loud young girls were being very rambunctious. Hooking a young guy’s attention – the guy then started openly vaping on the train.”
  • “Hey, so I am getting very fed up with teens blaring their mumble rap on the train! It’s gotten to the point where I cannot even hear my own music! Train etiquette doesn’t exist anymore!”
  • “Many a time I have seen other passengers use a second seat for their extra bags etc and refuse to move. Standing in front of doorways is commonplace.  Courtesy and etiquette has gone out the window!!”
  • “Middle aged woman directly behind me has her phone on speaker and is having an in-depth work discussion. This morning there were two school kids talking so loudly the entire carriage could hear them.”
  • “Hi, how do I report a grub for dropping a banana peel on a seat on the train?”

/Public Release. View in full here.