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24 September 2014

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Public Transport

Mobile phone music

Call for music-free London buses

A commuter has started a petition calling for a ban on playing music on mobile phones on London buses.

Tom Wright said he is fed up with being forced to listen to other people's music on public transport.

"It's an invasion of privacy," said Mr Wright, a telecoms technician from Leyton, east London.

He has set up an online petition urging Transport for London (TfL) to take action, which has so far struck a chord with 340 signatories.

Mr Wright, who launched the online campaign with girlfriend Valeria Martinelli, said loud music was a form of anti-social behaviour.

"I once asked a couple of girls to turn their music down, and I was subjected to a torrent of abuse," he told the BBC News website.

"Instead of turning it down, they started blasting music from two mobiles."

He said he does not mind if people use headphones. But he said increasingly some passengers are playing their music without any consideration.

TfL said in a statement they were sympathetic to Mr Wright's complaint.

"We know that it can be very irritating for other passengers when someone is listening to loud music on public transport," it said.

"We try to encourage passengers to show consideration for others while travelling on our network."

Your emails

I feel that the ban of music on buses is a terrible idea. I'm glad that TFL isn't even considering the ban. As I'm a bus driver it just another problem that we will have to deal with and our jobs are hard and stressful enough.

Duncan McDougall

It's obvious that playing recorded music out loud in public without consideration for others is thoughtless, rude and disrespectful. So why do people do it? There seem to be two species of humans sharing the planet at the moment: one type thinks about the environment, other people and their feelings;  the other doesn't care for anyone or anything apart from their own gratification. It seems to me that this issue is something that needs to be part of formal education - parents are clearly not doing their job here. Put manners on the curriculum!

PS The BBC are contributing to this culture of careless pollution by the thoughtless use of unnecessary background noise behind news summaries.

Ray Hewitt

YES! I am in favour of the ban. In fact, I would go even further and ban food and drink too. The smell can be unbearable at a times. As for mobile phones... why do some people have to shout? They speak so loud, do we all have to listen to their conversation?
Ana Rosa

When I squeezed on the DLR the other morning there was a young lad (16/17) standing there holding his mobile phone, blasting out his tinny Rap music.  The fact that he was alone, this was rush-hour, the train was packed, and he didn't have the common sense to put his headphones in and not annoy everyone was only half the story, as the track he was playing had an Mother F***  F word every other word and although I like rap/hip-hop, this was way out of line to be blasting this out in public.

I growled at him to turn his music off or down.  He gave me a dirty look and turned it down a bit, putting the phone to his ear, then got off the next stop.

If I was a DLR guard I would have tossed him off the train for being a nuisance.

Tristan, London

I watched your article on the lunchtime new with a certain amount of dismay.

As bus drivers in London, I and my colleagues regularly receive abuse, ranging from insults to actual assaults, when we challenge youths regarding their walking past us without showing passes, and not to mention their invalid passes; now the public appear to want us to be policeman regarding music on the buses as well? Agreed, it's annoying as heck, but I for one will not put myself at risk from a potentially knife-carrying young maniac, just because he's playing his rap music. They want peace and quiet? Go to a library!

Bus Driver

I have to 100% agree with the report. It is nuisance and annoying listening to other people's music choice on buses. The poor quality of sounds produced by mobiles makes it even more intolerable. It is mere noise and not music whatever the style. But it is not only mobile phone noise that stops me from using public transport, but the bad smell of junk food taken on board by other passengers. It often turns my stomach, not helping motion sickness. Eating should also be band on buses and tubes.

Dora Beggs
London, E8

How fantastic that someone is trying to tackle this problem. Most people who listen to their walkman do it with discretion but it is usually 13-16 year olds who play it far too loud and are a real nuisance to others. They are the same ones who have no respect for anyone in other ways as well. There should be inspectors travelling the routes regularly and those causing a nuisance should be fined on the spot.
Henry White-Smith

I'm a 26 year old female who loves clubbing pubbing and socialising. I have an mp3 player, a mobile and all the other gadgets and gismos that go with our contemporary lifestyle. And it's not the technology that's the problem. It's the people using it. It's not just buses either, it's every public place at the moment. Any time I travel anywhere it seems I'm forced to endure an inconsiderate persons' noise. I might even normally like the song but don't really want it imposed upon me when I have, as most commuters do, other pressing matters to think about.

Travelling, especially in London is stressful enough, but most of us use that time to try and escape a bit or filter through things that need to be addressed in our minds. That's not to say that music in public should be banned, but there is a time and a place for these things and invading the private thoughts of commutors on public transport when they're already stressed is incredibly inconsiderate. Music taste is a very personal thing and nobody enjoys having someone elses choices, valid as they are, thrust upon them in such a manner. We just need to be a bit more considerate of each other. These devices provide earphones for a reason and if they aren't used those responsible should incur a small fine.


Supposing we all played our favourite music at the same time at full blast, what a cacophony there would be.  London Buses should protect their passengers' right to a reasonably peaceful journey and prosecute these noisy pests.

Sybil Smith

I think music played on mobile phones aloud on public transport should be the least of our problems. How loud are mobile phones anyway? Some of them don’t sound any louder than headphones blaring. I think the campaigner should really find something more worthy a cause to campaign about.
Christopher Levy

My opinion on people playing music aloud on public transport is that, yes it can be disturbing & people should have some respect and use headphones or keep the sound to a minimum. But then again I have played music off my phone on the bus without headphones a number of times, I see it as alot of children traveling alone on a bus find music as a guard of confidence & feel a need to play it especially if they are alone. Then again if they are in a large group and are playing music which has some sort of an offence tone, then I would see how some people may find that rude and even some sort of a threat. I will be sure to buy headphones for my mobile phone in future.... and I don't think music should be banned on public transport, IF people are using headphones.
14 year old,

I was under the impression that in the 1980s, to deal with the increasing nuisance of loud Walkmans on buses and tubes, London transport passed a bylaw banning all music from their buses and trains. Surely this bylaw is still in force and therefore it is illegal to play mp3 players at a volume audible to other passengers. Certainly some bus drivers consider it to be illegal and act accordingly. I only wish the rest would follow their example.
Martin Lee

Funnily enough it's something I'd noticed in West London recently, a trend to play your mobile phone really loudly with tinny music.  We could all do it at the same time and see how that sounds. 

They banned smoking which was anti-social, now ban this trend which is also anti-social.   I thought that's why good headphones were invented for? While they're at it, ban smelly food too!
Cat Perrin

last updated: 20/10/06
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