I wasn’t going to do a second Public Transit Etiquette post. However, recent events have changed my mind. I’ve realized that there are several more unspoken rules that I would like to share with the tourists, visitors, and other infrequent users of public transportation.
Like crowded elevators, most transit vehicles make multiple stops. Most of the time that’s alright, and the cars aren’t too full for people to squeeze past one another, but sometimes the “Step Off” method is required. When people from the back of the car are trying to get out, the people in front of them need to actually step off the train, move aside to let people out, then get back on. It’s a fairly simple process, but more than once recently I’ve had to remind people of the protocol. When the train’s that crowded, though, I shouldn’t have to say it. When standing by the exit, look around you to see if anyone looks like they’re moving to get off, and then determine, on your own, if you need to Step Off.
When you’ve been waiting a long time for your bus or train, it’s tempting to push your way onto the first one you see, even if it’s already crowded. I had the experience recently of getting on a crowded train, only to have someone jump – literally jump – into the train as the doors were closing. By doing so, they practically knocked me over into someone else, and I rode three stops with their armpit in my face and what I hope was their cellphone pressing against my leg. Needless to say, that was quite unnecessary and highly uncomfortable for not only myself, but the other people standing near me in the train car. Don’t overcrowd, people. If the car is full, just wait. There’s probably another one right behind it.
We’ve all seen them. Maybe they’ve got earphones on or a book in their hands, but whatever they’re doing, this guy or gal is so relaxed on the subway that they’ve taken up residence on it. Specifically, they’ve put their entire body against the hand-pole stationed in the middle of the car, the ones clearly meant for shorter people. At 5’4” tall, holding onto the overhead bar is possible for me – but just barely. In fact, it actually hurts when do it for too long. So when I see someone leaning their entire body against a hand-pole that’s more my height, it makes me angry. Why should I swing back and forth like a monkey just so you can relax comfortably in everyone’s way? I shouldn’t. Stand up straight or find a seat, buddy.
Mind the Weather
I’ve recently had the misfortune of finding out the hard way that the weather can wreak havoc with transit systems. So if you’ve absolutely got to go into work on a snow day, give yourself time to get there. Buses will be driving slowly if they’re running at all and train tracks need time to be shoveled if they’re located above ground. Leave your house early and know to expect for delays; getting angry during your morning commute only serves to ruin the rest of your day and make other people miserable. So check the attitude at your front door and be patient. There’s nothing to be done about the weather.