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Brace Yourselves, For Today Is Officially ‘Chat Day’ On Public Transport

Alex Landon Alex Landon - Editor

Chat Day

June 14th, 2019. Remember today, for Chat Day shall surely live in infamy forever.

It’s the classic ‘rock and a hard place’ scenario – insistently, the powers that be try to get us to talk to one another on public transport. Like a stubborn child, we firmly close our mouths, turn away, and focus on literally anything else. The latest front on the war on silence arrives today, for a whole host of public transport operators are partaking in Chat Day, during which a whole host of tricks and treats will be used to entice you to form a human connection to strangers. How obscene!

Chat Day
Try telling this lot to make conversation…

After the whole ‘Tube Chat?’ badge debacle, I thought this idea had died once and for all, but apparently not. There is, of course, nothing but good intentions behind the initiative; the aim is to help prevent people from feeling isolated or polarised, by encouraging us to reach out and connect with strangers. A noble cause, truly – but Twitter, naturally, was having absolutely none of it:

(At least he said please.)

At this early stage of Chat Day, however, the idea doesn’t quite seem to be catching on.

Oh, and if you think “well great, I’m not in London so I’m spared”, you would be wrong. Chat Day is everywhere, on every imaginable form of public transport – and some networks, like Arriva’s buses, are even handing out conversation starter cards. Which seems like an absurdly formal way to get Chat Day off the ground, but whatever floats your boat I guess. Perhaps Shayda had the most nuanced take on the whole kerfuffle:

We’re all for meaningful interactions with potential new friends/lovers/arch-nemeses, but if you’re capable of sparkly, witty repartee at 8am, then you’re a better person than I. Plus, have you ever tried making conversation over the screeching sounds of the Victoria line? I’m sure Chat Day is a well-established, even welcomed, occasion in some utopian future – but as we can all agree, the Underground is certainly not Utopia…


Also published on Medium.