Playing off a piece on Beliefnet, last week, we discussed the ethics of using the emergency exit to speed up travel times out of a crowded station. While it is illegal to use the emergency exit not in an emergency without permission from the station agent, that doesn’t stop too many straphangers.
On Friday, in the second part of her series look at the ethics of subway riding, Hillary Fields examined more bad behavior on the subway. She and Beliefnet Entertainment Editor Dena Ross put together a list of the worst subway offenders. My favorites:
The Big-Backpack-Wearer: This offender, often a tourist, a young student, or an oblivious yuppie, sports a gigantic knapsack, usually positioning himself or herself in the middle of a subway car (or worse, the door–see The Door-Blocker), getting in the way of all who traverse the crowded train.
Proper Subway Etiquette: Remove the knapsack from your back and hold it at your side. I don’t care if your arm hurts. Put it on the floor next to you if you must (gag!) but don’t be inconsiderate by blocking people from moving around. I’m not an expert on fire hazards, but I’m thinking big back packs are one of them…
The Door-Blocker: Despite signs all over the subway cars advising against it for safety reasons, these riders prefer standing against the door and refuse to move out of the way for people entering and leaving the subway. These inconsiderate losers are the bane of my existence.
Proper Subway Etiquette: Move out of the way! If for whatever reason you find myself stuck at the door with a number of people looking to get off (and onto) the train at a given stop, get off the train along with those exiting, making sure to stay close to the door. This ensures that everyone exits the train in a semi-orderly fashion, without having to step around you. Plus, you’ll be one of the first ones to enter the train. You deserve it for being so courteous!
The Music-Sharer: I’ve really got to thank you Mr. DJ, for playing your crap music (is it your band?) so loud on your iPod that I, and the entire subway car, are forced to listen to your tunes (if we’re luckily, we get to hear it on repeat! Yay!) Here’s a little secret, even if I like the music you’re playing–maybe I’m even mouthing along the words–I’m still cursing you under my breath for being a jerk.
Proper Subway Etiquette: If you’re unsure whether your iPod is likely audible to your neighbors, take off your headphones (with the volume on your desired setting) and hold them in front of you. If you can still clearly hear the music, it’s surely disrupting your neighbors when it’s on your ears. If so, turn it down!
The two writers also tackle seat-stealers and people who aren’t discrete in their cell phone use, among others. It’s hard to argue with any of these. The plague of music-sharers has reached epidemic proportions, and as numerous people around my age blast their iPods, I can imagine myself living in a New York City full of deaf 60-somethings in 40 years.
For better or worse, the subway is a microcosm of the way we behave toward others in New York City. Are we considerate on the subway? Do we get out of the way when others need to exit? Do we remember that 50 other people have no desire to hear our music or our cell phone conversations? By and large, New Yorkers manage the subway with perhaps not with grace and aplomb but grudging respect for other straphangers. Those who flaunt the societal rules deserve the wrath of Dena Ross and those who pass judgment on the behavior of others.
Photo of a subway seat hog by flickr user MikeyPics.