Just a quick observation (on a Friday instead of my usual Tuesday), following my travels this week in three big cities by train, metro, tram and bus.
First off, in Geneva, all is quiet, hushed, respectful, but not many people will rush in to help you if you are puzzled about which ticket to purchase or where to change. Interaction does occur if you attempt to leave some rubbish behind. Then you can expect indignation, although more commonly a tap on the shoulder and a disapproving frown.
Next, in London: everyone has an MP3 player, newspaper, book or mobile phone that they can hide behind. No one is looking at each other, and you feel that if you were to engage in a little conversation, you would be viewed as a stalker.
Thirdly, in Paris: a lot more eye contact, even if some people are playing around with their mobiles. On several occasions, I hear strangers striking up a conversation and have even shared my thoughts on living in England a couple of times and on some English football teams. I was surprised, given the reputation that Parisians have for being unfriendly.
I won’t tell you which one I personally preferred, but I was wondering if this was this just chance, not at all typical of each city? Do you have similar commuter experiences, perhaps in other cities of the world?