Burning Questions: How to queue correctly - what are the rights and wrongs when forming a line?

What are the rights and wrongs of queuing, do you think?

What are the rights and wrongs of queuing, do you think?

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , web manager

We’re British and one of the few things we do better than just about everybody else in the world is queue.

So today’s burning questions about the correct etiquette to use when waiting in line should be a doddle to answer, surely. Or maybe not.

Your views are sought on two potentially tricky situations.

Firstly, what’s the right way to queue up when you’re somewhere and there are several booths/cashiers/checkouts/desks etc open but no obvious directions about where to wait?

Should people form one main line in the middle which then files off one by one as assistants, or cash machines as another example, become available? Or should people form an individual line in front of each till or machine?

In my experience fast food restaurants and box offices are among the worst places to be for chaotic queues.

Secondly, what are the rules for lining up to get on a bus or train? Should people try and form orderly queues when standing at the bus stop or waiting for the train to arrive at the platform, allowing those who were there ahead of them to board first? Or should it just be a shoulder-barging, elbow-jabbing free-for-all where everyone piles on?

Have you ever got into a confrontation with someone over queue-jumping?

Add your comments below.

Burning Questions aims to resolve awkward social dilemmas, settle those arguments that always spring up down the pub and answer those niggling little questions which can divide households/workplaces. Got a burning question you want answered? Send it to us and we’ll put it to our wise readers ... click here to email

This Is Local London: Burning Questions

Comments (10)

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8:52am Thu 13 Mar 14

caz b says...

No longer exists at bus stops
No longer exists at bus stops caz b
  • Score: 18

12:41pm Thu 13 Mar 14

Hk says...

I think generally these days, locally at bus stops, there doesnt seem to be much of a queuing system. You only have to be at my bus in the mornings! I can accept that to a certain degree but there are many people, in fact the majority who wait at my bus stop, who think they have the right to push people out of the way to get on a bus (along with telling their kids to push in front and barge people as well) when it is quite obvious we are all trying to get on the same bus and it doesnt hurt to wait your turn.

I have had an argument in the mornings with certain people because they are just plain rude and have barged me out of the way, even when I have been at the front of the 'queue'. I have to get a bus to the station every morning and a bus home from the station every night and I have to say it can be so frustrating having to deal with these kinds of people. It makes the commute to work alot more stressful than it really needs to be.

There are no manners and just plain rudeness from men, women and their children. Men and children are generally worse than the women too!
I think generally these days, locally at bus stops, there doesnt seem to be much of a queuing system. You only have to be at my bus in the mornings! I can accept that to a certain degree but there are many people, in fact the majority who wait at my bus stop, who think they have the right to push people out of the way to get on a bus (along with telling their kids to push in front and barge people as well) when it is quite obvious we are all trying to get on the same bus and it doesnt hurt to wait your turn. I have had an argument in the mornings with certain people because they are just plain rude and have barged me out of the way, even when I have been at the front of the 'queue'. I have to get a bus to the station every morning and a bus home from the station every night and I have to say it can be so frustrating having to deal with these kinds of people. It makes the commute to work alot more stressful than it really needs to be. There are no manners and just plain rudeness from men, women and their children. Men and children are generally worse than the women too! Hk
  • Score: 23

9:02am Fri 14 Mar 14

dizzy13 says...

Follow the sign?
Follow the sign? dizzy13
  • Score: 4

12:34pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Raedor says...

I really hate the queuer's who shuffle slowly along and allow a big gap to form in front of them, I feel like using a bl**dy cattle prod sometimes. Moveit!!! ... Headem'up!!! Rawhide !!!! Yehow!!!!!
I really hate the queuer's who shuffle slowly along and allow a big gap to form in front of them, I feel like using a bl**dy cattle prod sometimes. Moveit!!! ... Headem'up!!! Rawhide !!!! Yehow!!!!! Raedor
  • Score: 9

11:00pm Mon 17 Mar 14

mouthalmighty says...

In the seventies when I first started work up town, I would be the first at the 53 bus stop at the top of regent street. Half hour later, and three buses gone without me, I soon learnt to use my elbows. I still can't believe that I stood there waiting for someone to be polite and say " you were first love on you get."
In the seventies when I first started work up town, I would be the first at the 53 bus stop at the top of regent street. Half hour later, and three buses gone without me, I soon learnt to use my elbows. I still can't believe that I stood there waiting for someone to be polite and say " you were first love on you get." mouthalmighty
  • Score: 1

11:26pm Mon 17 Mar 14

sarfflondonbird says...

mouthalmighty wrote:
In the seventies when I first started work up town, I would be the first at the 53 bus stop at the top of regent street. Half hour later, and three buses gone without me, I soon learnt to use my elbows. I still can't believe that I stood there waiting for someone to be polite and say " you were first love on you get."
Sad isn't it? Gone are the days when manners and courtesy were in fashion in good old UK.
It literally is every man, woman and child for themselves, sod manners.
[quote][p][bold]mouthalmighty[/bold] wrote: In the seventies when I first started work up town, I would be the first at the 53 bus stop at the top of regent street. Half hour later, and three buses gone without me, I soon learnt to use my elbows. I still can't believe that I stood there waiting for someone to be polite and say " you were first love on you get."[/p][/quote]Sad isn't it? Gone are the days when manners and courtesy were in fashion in good old UK. It literally is every man, woman and child for themselves, sod manners. sarfflondonbird
  • Score: 2

10:09am Tue 18 Mar 14

Vitriolal says...

The Brits invented everything including queuing, but as standards have dropped its no wonder inner city queuing has dissapeard these days!!!
The Brits invented everything including queuing, but as standards have dropped its no wonder inner city queuing has dissapeard these days!!! Vitriolal
  • Score: 2

11:10am Tue 18 Mar 14

Dr. Nick says...

Vitriolal wrote:
The Brits invented everything including queuing, but as standards have dropped its no wonder inner city queuing has dissapeard these days!!!
Job Centre queuing has gone up recently - that is something us 'Brits' are still good at.
[quote][p][bold]Vitriolal[/bold] wrote: The Brits invented everything including queuing, but as standards have dropped its no wonder inner city queuing has dissapeard these days!!![/p][/quote]Job Centre queuing has gone up recently - that is something us 'Brits' are still good at. Dr. Nick
  • Score: -13

12:13pm Tue 18 Mar 14

ollyloosemore says...

My bus in the morning does have an orderly queue but it was obvious on tube strike days those who didn't understand how a queue works!
My bus in the morning does have an orderly queue but it was obvious on tube strike days those who didn't understand how a queue works! ollyloosemore
  • Score: 10

3:17pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Bestbaz says...

Still see that NS only keep selective comments. What happened to free speech !!
Still see that NS only keep selective comments. What happened to free speech !! Bestbaz
  • Score: 22

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