The word ‘standees’ bothered me. I wonder if the sign could just say ‘Please don’t stand behind this line’.
At first I thought they’d made a laughable mistake, and that ‘standee’ meant ‘person or thing being stood on’. But no; Go Wellington has used ‘standee’ correctly. I checked the Oxford Dictionary and I stand corrected. Their use of ‘standee’ is spot on, even if it isn’t commonly used. The big book says:
standee: noun — a person who is standing rather than seated, especially in a passenger vehicle.
But is ‘standee’ plain and clear? If English wasn’t your first language, would you immediately get the message? Many bus passengers are new to New Zealand and may not understand it on first reading.
And it’s exactly the kind of bureaucratic language that makes customers feel distanced from the Council, which does so much to serve them. I’m a big fan of the Wellington City Council and its services and amenities.
But this language is absolutely positively not reader-focused!