I have occasion to be on the Metro quite a bit. And on my journeys it’s always interesting to people watch and see how people behave. I’ve noticed that few people do not follow what I thought are general basic train riding etiquette rules. One particular experience occurred to me when a middle aged man decided to lean on the wall right next to me (so close his jacket kept brushing my shoulder) when the entire car was empty. Why? Why? I even politely asked him to move, which he actually refused to do. I decided to give up my prime spot instead of suffer through a 40 minute ride next to him.
So with that experience in mind, here are some basic rules (and reminders) for how to correctly, considerately, and politely be a metro train rider.
1. Priority Seating – There are designated seats for people who are elderly or have accessibility issues. If you see someone who appears to be >60 years old, be considerate and offer up your seat. The same applies for pregnant women and people with canes, crutches or casts. It was just last week that some poor lady in a cast had to sit on the GROUND because people didn’t want to give her their seats. That should not be happening. View those seats as the handicapped parking spaces of the metro train. Sit in them if no one is there, but if someone gets on the train who needs them, back it on up and offer them your seat.
2. Parents with Young Kids – If you see parents with one or more young kids walking with them, then consider giving them your seat. It will make things easier on the parents and would be appreciated. This is especially important on crowded trains to help prevent kids and parents from getting separated.
3. The 3 Foot Rule – This is a violation that occurs MUCH too frequently. I understand that during rush hour, it’s pretty much reduced from a 3 foot rule to a 3 mm rule, but during non-peak hours, please position yourself at least 3 feet away from the nearest standing passenger. Here’s a useful diagram to help demonstrate good places for you to stand.
The general idea here is that if I am on the train first, you should MAXIMIZE the distance between you and me. The best place is the location that’s furthest from me. The worst is the location that is right next to me. If you ever opt for position #6 instead of positions 1-4, it will be noticeably odd to the person you’re unnecessarily standing close to.
4. Share the Pole – The vertical poles are places for people to hang on to while they are standing near the pole. If you are completely leaning your full body against the pole, the only thing they could grab for stability would be you, which I’m sure you don’t want. Therefore, please be considerate of your standing neighbors and give them the ability and ample room to hold onto the pole. The same applies for looping your arm completely around the pole as if it was the only thing holding you up. That pole doesn’t belong to you. No one is going to steal it from you. It’s meant for sharing. Even if your body isn’t leaning on it, if it is in very close proximity to the pole, it still doesn’t offer people the opportunity to grab the pole without invading your personal space. If you’re still not convinced, when you lean your back and derriere against the pole, it is not flattering to your figure (pole wedgie anyone?) Please don’t be a pole hog.
Those are the four big rules I could think of. The general theme of all of the rules is to be considerate of others. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Did I miss any?