LAST week I got on a busy train to Leeds in morning rush hour.

Almost all the seats were taken and I was preparing to stand - as I often do on this journey - but I spotted one a little further along the carriage.

A woman had a large handbag on it and when I asked if the seat was taken, she shot me a black look, huffily grabbed the bag and moved it onto the table.

The passengers sitting opposite looked at me and raised their eyebrows.

A couple of days later I read about the BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, who attracted criticism for allowing her pet dog to take up a train seat. The journalist was photographed travelling with her whippet asleep on the seat beside her.

She should know better. Not only should the seat have been vacant in case another passenger needed it, but pets leave hairs, which staff have to clean up.

Interestingly, the incriminating photograph shows the trainer-clad feet of the passenger sitting in the seat behind the newsreader. They are not on the floor where they should be, but up on the seat. That person too, deserves a ticking off.

There are notices in trains and on buses, and even announcements in some trains, asking people not to put their feet up on seats, for obvious reasons, but still they do it.

Abuse of seats is among my biggest travelling bugbears. Too many people treat seats on public transport like the sofa in the own home, although I am sure most people take off their shoes before putting their feet up on their own upholstery.

Such behaviour shows a lack of respect for property and a lack of consideration for others. It is indicative of a society that does not care.

On a train to London recently I had to remove sandwich packaging from behind the drop-down tray where it had been squished, along with half a ham sandwich and a sticky carton of juice. Opposite the seat there was a bin, but the previous passengers clearly could not be bothered to use it.

I regularly sit at tables where people have left half-full coffee cups. I’ve watched people get up, leaving cups behind. Of course I could challenge them, but it’s not worth the aggro.

Personally I don’t leave anything behind, not even the free newspaper. If I’ve picked it up, I should take responsibility for it.

Public transport brings out the worst in people. In addition to the above, I have many other gripes. These top the table:

*Impatient people who can’t wait until disembarking passengers get off a train before they begin to pile on.

*Those who stand stock-still on the left side of the escalator – the side that is meant to be left free for people in a rush.

*Pensioners who try to use their bus passes at 8am and then spend ages arguing with the bus driver when he or she correctly informs them that they have to wait until 9am to make the free journey. They may have a hospital appointment, but rules are rules.

*Travellers who choose rush hour to visit the ticket office at the station to book a complicated round-Britain journey, eight months in advance.

*People who treat the train table like an office, covering the entire table with their laptop and reams of paper, while loudly conducting numerous work-related phone calls, in complete oblivion to others.

*Women putting on make-up on the train. It amazes me how they pull out their kit and perform full makeovers without a hint of self-consciousness.

Passengers’ behaviour appears to deteriorate year on year. Emily Maitlis take note - we need people like you to set an example.