Sure, it’s fun to backseat drive the beleaguered public transit systems of this country – and there’s no shortage of news of their beleaguerment – but here are some things that every transit rider can do that can help keep things running better. These things are not going to rescue public transit from the death spiral of service cuts, decreased ridership, deficits, fare hikes, decreased ridership, service cuts <repeat> but they can help move things along just a bit faster during our commutes.
1. Move the @#$% in if you’re not getting off at the next stop. If you’re standing in the door and it’s not your stop, you are part of the problem. If you find yourself unavoidably in this position, the right thing to do is to get out of the way, even if that means temporarily exiting the vehicle.
2. Let people the @#$% off before you try to get the @#$% on. Isn’t this one of the laws of thermodynamcs? Do you try to get into taxis or airplanes before the last passengers get out? There’s more room outside the train than inside it. Stand aside, the train will not leave without you.
3. If there is one, use the back door to @#$%ing exit so people can get the @#$% on through the front door. If we do this one right, #2 becomes moot, at least where back doors are present.
All of these things cause a buildup of delay in an already fragile system. Next time you wait twice as long for a bus, get on a bus that’s packed like a sardine can, and see two more empty buses tagging along behind it, you’ll be looking at the imapct of the accumulation of small delays caused by lousy public transit manners.
A correspondingly west-coast and cool-headed critique of public transit etiquette is authored by the SFMUNI ladies here.