Last week's Subway Etiquette Lesson discussed etiquette for deep inside a crowded rush-hour subway car. This week's will discuss the area around the doors, and flow through the doors from inside-to-outside and vice versa.
So, let's start outside and work our way in. You're standing on one of the platforms that has grey tiles with a yellow area that says "Stand Clear" (like Grand Central on the 4/5/6). The yellow area approximates where the door will be when the train pulls in. You have 2 options here. Stand directly in the middle of the yellow area, or stand right on the border. [Tip #1: Obviously, stand on the border of the yellow "Stand Clear" region]
You're on a platform that has no such markings. When the train pulls in, you move yourself so that you are standing directly in front of the doors, or you move to right on the side of the doors? Again, same thing, same tip as before. Stand aside. Stand clear. Don't be a fucking douchebag.
[Tip #2: (and this should be in extra large text, but I'm lazy) The MTA and I agree - Allow people to get off of the train before you get on the train.]
That means stand aside and let people off. That means that if one side of the two doors is still exiting and one side isn't, that you don't barrel in on the side that's not exiting. You wait for everyone to get off of the train. You do not form a U-shape with the other fuckers around the door so that people getting off are going to have to run over someone. [Tip #3: If the area directly next to the door is taken, you can stack 2-3 people deep at a 90º angle from the train. If you are not one of those three people, you stand between that set of doors and the next forward or backward set of doors, and do NOT block people from getting off of the train.]
Finally, you're waiting outside of the train, and everyone who is going to exit has exited. Now the people outside of the train have the opportunity to board the train. This can be a free-for-all. And that is fine. The faster people here will get on the train before the slower ones. But, and this is a big mistake that people make, the first people on to the train are not entitled to the best spot available. In theory, the people already on the train should've moved down the aisle between the seats and filled in all available spots; but that's not gonna happen. [Tip #4: As you enter on to the subway car, you need to move as far in as you possibly can, no matter what.] Tip #4 goes against most people's desires for where they will stand on the subway. But it is the only way for things to work properly.
For example, let's say there are people waiting to get on to a car which, after having emptied out of the people who are exiting, is kinda full. If the first or second or third person on to the car stops and tries to take the door spot, what happens behind them? Traffic jam. [Tip #5: If you are the inconsiderate asshole who stops and takes the door spot while there is still room in front of you and there are still people behind you, be prepared to be elbowed, punched, kicked, and shoved in the neck, back, legs, calves, and ankles.] Or just don't fucking do it. Because that's fucked.
By some luck, you are the last one on to the car, and you get the door spot. You lean against the door until the next stop where a lot of people are preparing to get on and a lot of people are preparing to get off as well. Here, etiquette allows you three initial options.
- [Tip #6: When the doors open, you can either step off of the train, straddle the gap between the platform and the doors, and then, when everyone is off of the train, move as deep in to the car as possible. This is the best option which causes the least traffic as a direct result of you.]
- When the doors open, you flatten yourself directly against the row of seats, achieving a similar result as above, but also slightly blocking the aisle between the seats from exiting quite as quickly. Again, when everyone has exited the train, you move in as deep as possible
- Or, when the doors open, you fully walk outside of the car, and find a spot amongst the waiting masses. This is a viable, but foolish, option. First, you are stuck jockeying for a spot to stand as soon as you get off of the train because you have to get the fuck out of the way of everyone else exiting. Then, you are stuck jockeying for a position to get back on the train. And finally, you will, invariably, end up with the worst spot to stand, if you even make it on to the train at all. And, yes, I have seen many a person step off the train to let others off, and then not make it back on to the train. And etiquette does not protect them. If you get off of the train to help others, you do so at your own peril.
Once again, your 6 subway etiquette tips are:
- [Tip #1: While waiting to get on the train, stand on the border of the yellow "Stand Clear" region or at the edge of the doors. Do not block the doors from the outside.]
- [Tip #2: The MTA and I agree - Allow people to get off of the train before you get on the train.]
- [Tip #3: While waiting to get on the train, if the area directly next to the door is taken, you can stack 2-3 people deep at a 90º angle from the train. If you are not one of those three people, you stand between that set of doors and the next forward or backward set of doors, and do NOT block people from getting off of the train.]
- [Tip #4: As you enter on to the subway car, you need to move as far in as you possibly can, no matter what.]
- [Tip #5: While getting on the train, if you are the inconsiderate asshole who stops and takes the door spot while there is still room in front of you and there are still people behind you, be prepared to be elbowed, punched, kicked, and shoved in the neck, back, legs, calves, and ankles.]
- [Tip #6: If you are standing against the door on the train, when the doors open, you can either step off of the train, straddle the gap between the platform and the doors, and then, when everyone is off of the train, move as deep in to the car as possible. This is the best option which causes the least traffic as a direct result of you.]
Don't believe me? I'll give you a few examples.
Through luck, I ended up with a door spot coming up to my stop. As I generally do, I turned around when the train was slowing down so that I was standing facing the doors and pretty close to them, prime position to get off of the train. The crowd outside of the train violated rule #s 1, 2, and 3. The had blocked off the entire area around the door, and some stupid kid (probably about 16 years old) decided to stand directly between the two opening doors and try to push his way on the second the the doors opened. Some people may let little fuckers like that do whatever they want, but I am not one of them. So, I did what I am entitled to do as per the rules above [for, each rule allows other straphangers to physically punish people who have fucked up]. As soon as the doors opened, the kid tried to push on to the train, and I began to push off of the train. Not only did I body check this kid in to the crowd, I also threw a small sucker punch to his stomach. Now, obviously, this kid was not pleased, but the beauty of the subway is that while he's yelling and screaming at me, and I'm walking away, listening to my ipod, and ignoring him, he only has like 20 seconds to bitch before the doors close, and on top of that, he has other people forcing him in to the car so that they can get on. Was it a dick move on my part to push this kid around? Shit no. He was prepared to push me out of his way, but I was more prepared. Lesson learned for him, I doubt, but hope.
The other day, people are trying to pack on to the car, and this fucker stops at the door while there are still a lot of people trying to get on, violating rule #s 4 and 5. Most people go around him, so by the time I get to him, there is no where to go but straight in to his back. No problem, I don't care that this guy is a giant, I will push him forward and take the only remaining spot on the subway. But then, after the doors close, he starts leaning back and trying to take what little space I have. Fortunately, when someone is pressing you against the door, making them uncomfortable is not difficult. You put your elbow against the door, your hand straight out, and fists balled. This way, you have created an immovable object, that happens to be pressing in to their back sharply. Problem generally solved, although not with this giant fuckwad. He required more constant badgering and bumping to earn my little breathing room.
Do your homework, study this shit, and make my subway rides easier. More tips next week. Oh, and I may start drawing some pictures so you know what the fuck I'm talking about.