Taking a snooze on public transportation


This post can also be found on Kelsey Avers’ blog

Many students will find that trying to fit a full-time class schedule, a part-time job and a social life into one day is rather tricky. Sometimes young adults work so hard throughout the day that by nightfall we come to the realization that we just aren’t able to squeeze in the full eight hours of sleep that has been recommended to us throughout our lives. In a city where nearly one-third of commuters use public transportation to get to and from work and/or school, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise when I see people catching up on their Z’s on a public bus or commuter train.

I ride the 29 Sunset Muni bus line from my house to school, and then back. This is the second busiest bus line in the city; needless to say, it is stuffed with people like a small pack of gum more often than not, resulting in a strong likelihood that by the time the outbound route gets to San Francisco State University, it is full of City College students and city commuters. Yesterday I was lucky enough to find a seat in the back of the bus, cramped between to chattering students. I put in my headphones and close my eyes to catch a moment of relaxation after a long day at school. But no matter how loud I turn up my music, there’s still all that chattering on each side of me, so trying to get any second of rest has proved itself to be pointless. “Okay,” I think to myself. “I’ll just do some people watching.”

After looking through the uninteresting crowd of people standing hip-to-hip, I almost give up, figuring there won’t be much odd-people-on-the-bus entertainment this ride around. Then it appears!

This guy is not just resting; he is totally passed out. As seen in the picture above, he is hunched over, his head hanging heavily. Every time the bus moves, his head and neck seem as if they are attached to the rest of his body by a small thread as it wobbles back and forth with every stop, acceleration, and turn. I keep watching to see if his practically lifeless body ever leans to the side, resting against the girl sitting next to him. (Now THAT would be fun to see!) But it doesn’t (darn…), and I start to wonder if he didn’t really mean to fall into such a deep sleep, and in result of doing so, missed his stop.

My thoughts trail off into noticing how uncomfortable this sleeping position looks, and thinking about how bad his neck is going to hurt once he wakes up. I obviously am not the only one who has thought about this while watching someone sleep on a bus, as I noticed from Matthew Gale’s website. He has created a patent for a jacket that makes sleeping on public transportation easier and more comfortable.

The Excubo jacket (Excubo being Latin for “I sleep outside”) jacket molds around the body to become a sort of “cocoon,” while the collar and lapels morph into a sleeping mask and plush mounds to create pillow. Something that this young man I watched sleeping on the bus could have used was the sides of the jacket, which tighten around the wearers sides and torso, keeping them upright and comfortable. And if the bus sleeper really wants to feel bundled up, the cuffs can be turned into mittens.

CNN coverage of the jacket can be seen in this YouTube Video, which is on Gale’s YouTube Channel. The jacket’s performance is shown on Gale himself, cozying himself up in his creation on a BART train.

After about ten minutes of the bumpy bus ride, the young man wakes up, wipes the drool from the corners of his mouth, and quickly turns to see exactly where he is. He didn’t look too panicked, so I assumed he did not miss his stop, although it was hard to tell if he could even comprehend where he was through the expression on his face, which still looked half asleep.

If you or anyone you know is a fan of sleeping on public transportation, you can join the Facebook Group dedicated to tired commuters.

Sleep well!

– Kelsey


  • I remember riding the 2-Clement as a kid and watching a lady totally passed out with her head bobbling around like a bobblehead doll, and I thought she would wake-up every single time her head banged the pole after the driver hit the brakes. She never did.

    • Kelsey

      That’s exactly what I wondered when I saw this guy. His head was practically smacking into the girl sitting next to him, and she kept looking at him but never really did anything. It was definitely interesting to watch, though. Thanks everyone for reading my stuff!!! 🙂

  • And just when I was considering my first ride on MUNI — I know I would have the seat right next to this guy and probably feel responsible for reviving him…

  • Sometime Its really fun and it just does not only happen in public transportation but also in the coaches, minibuses and limousines people hire, well, lets say, I am an expatriate living here in London UK and I am working as a Consultant for Coach company that provides coach hire, minibus hire and limo hire service, during their travel and tours, the most of locals sleeping and bumping their heads in to each others laps, which becomes really interesting sometime….

  • Hi

    I have a real funny story to tell…..whilst I was driving one of my customer from Heathrow to Nottingham both started fighting and I came to know the guy has been sleeping jumbering his head in to his wife’s nose….

    It was fun, but very noisy fun




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