9 Metro Etiquette Tips for New Riders

Don’t be the person on the train everyone hates

With more neophytes riding the rails, a fresh lesson in transit etiquette is called for. Of course, most commuters are perfectly polite, but it doesn’t hurt to remind straphangers what’s generally acceptable when you’re on a packed train.

1. No Dirty Feet on Chairs, Please

The seating setup on Metro’s trains doesn’t easily allow for people to place their boots, heels, or flats on other seats, but some still manage. If you’re lucky enough to be sitting alone in a two-seater, keep your feet on the ground. A side-facing handicapped seat also allows people to drag their barking dogs on a nearby chair. Please don’t.

2. Leg-Spreading Is Inhumane

Yes, it’s mostly a male problem, but all kinds sprawl their legs out as a way to occupy two seats or exert some dominance. Being aware of all the space you occupy is essential on public transit.

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3. Bags, Backpacks, and Luggage, Oh My!

There are no racks on Metro trains to store cumbersome carry-ons, but some folks need a lesson in getting them out of the way. Aisle-blocking is exasperating, and that includes when someone wears an enormous knapsack during rush-hour. Take that darn thing off! Also, bags are not people and not allowed their own seat. They should go on your lap or close to your feet.

4. This Isn’t the Dining Car

Most rides on Metro don’t last longer than an hour, so thoughtful riders should avoid the smacking and smells that go along with eating on the train. There are exceptions, of course. Twizzlers are OK; a tuna sub is not.

5. There Are Better Places to Floss Your Teeth

I once watched in collective horror as a train commuter used a set of keys to clean his ears for 15 minutes straight. Am still not sure if that was worse than the guy who clipped his fingernails en route to DTLA (haven’t yet seen an onboard pedicure, but give it time). That stuff belongs in a bathroom, not the Gold Line.

6. Your DJ Skills Are Not Appreciated

It’s very unclear why some think blasting loud tunes on the train is a worthwhile affair. Like Vaguebooking, it’s an obvious cry for attention. Get a pair of headphones or stare out at the lovely scenery along Jefferson Boulevard.

7. Who Talks on the Phone Anymore?

Aren’t phone calls just for emergencies now? Some still partake in long, loud discussions on transit to the detriment of everyone else around them. We once witnessed a loud phone talker mercifully exit a train as passengers erupted in applause. You never want to be the person who elicits jubilation upon your departure.

8. Don’t Be a Hindrance

This one’s simple, if you’re standing near the door when the train reaches a station, make sure you’re not blocking the path of those getting off (the opposite is true, too—allow people to exit before you rush into the train). If you need to exit the train for others to get out, do it, and then simply jump back on. Simple!

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9. Kindness Counts

It’s an obvious rule of transit etiquette to give up your seat to an elderly or pregnant passenger, but going above and beyond is even better. Here’s an example: when you walk by the train operator as you exit a station, give a quick wave and even mouth the words, “Thank you.” This small act is always appreciated.

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