Sydney commuter’s ‘enjoyable’ act divides opinion: ‘Obnoxious’

·News Reporter
·4-min read

A Sydney commuter has sparked a fierce debate after pointing out a passenger's act while on a crowded morning train into the city on Tuesday.

In a photo shared online, a man can be seen strumming away on his guitar at the back of the carriage with the instrument case laid open across three seats.

Another passenger snapped a photo after witnessing the scene and later shared it on Reddit.

They praised the musician for "practising social distancing" while on a "crowded train" before raving about his guitar skills.

The man's act on a Sydney train has left people divided. Source: Reddit
The man's act on a Sydney train has left people divided. Source: Reddit

"You’ve got to love the morning commute to the Sydney CBD, a crowded train, this guy was practising social distancing & his guitar skills playing a few classical music pieces with great finesse, all the passengers seemed to be enjoying the moment despite everyone on their phones," they wrote.

And while the poster's comments could be taken for sarcasm, he goes on to say the musician's sheet music gave him the impressions he was preparing for a music exam.

Man's act slammed: 'So selfish'

Other Reddit users weren't so forgiving, as dozens slammed the "selfish" move.

Many pointed out he was taking up as many as six seats to himself, meaning some passengers could have been left standing.

"This guy is really selfish playing his guitar on a train where people can't really escape. Not to mention he's taking up 6 seats all to himself," one said.

"So he was taking up four seats on a crowded train in peak hour and playing music quite loudly?" a second wrote before adding, "I may have a different view of this from yours."

Others took aim at the unnecessary noise he would have been making with many dubbing it "obnoxious".

"It's right up there with people singing out loud, watching videos or listening to music on speaker," one fumed. "No one wants to hear your sh*t."

"I’m a guitarist, this is just obnoxious. I doesn’t matter what you’re doing or have to do. Nobody wants to hear your sh*tty playing, every guitarist sucks we all know that," said another.

Inside Sydney train empty seat (left) front of Sydney train on tracks (right)
People fumed saying the act was selfish and other commuters should have been considered. Source: Getty

Dozens more said the act was "selfish, with many admitting it's "annoying", particularly on the way to work when "people want quiet in the morning".

But few agreed it would have "brightened my day" if they'd been on the train.

"If someone whipped out a guitar on my otherwise dreary journey to work I’d have an extra pep in my step….as long as they’re talented," one said.

"All the hate is making me question your heart Sydney! Personally, I love surprise music in my life, especially on an otherwise routine commute to work. This would have totally brightened my day," someone else wrote before saying: "Surely a couple of people could have squeezed in next to him."

It's not known whether the passengers were on a quiet carriage at the time.

Quiet carriages on NSW trains

Quiet carriages were made permanent on NSW trains in 2012 following a successful trial period.

Quiet carriages are at the front and rear of eight-car trains and the rear of four-car trains and passengers travelling in these carriages are expected to keep noise levels to a minimum.

Travellers using these carriages must have their mobile phones on silent and are expected to move to another carriage if they wish to make a call or have a conversation, Transport for NSW says on their website.

Headphones are to be kept to a level where the audio can't be heard by others

“The quiet carriages initiative is part of the NSW Government’s ‘Fixing the Trains’ program and has been very well received – so we want to keep them going,” Gladys Berejiklian said, who was the Minister for Transport at the time.

“We are committed to making improvements to Fix the Trains, including improving the quality of our customers’ journeys."

A Transport for NSW survey found nearly 90 per cent of respondents said travelling in quiet carriages had improved their overall experience, and they intend to continue to use them.

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