Thursday, July 16, 2009

Metrolink Etiquette

I've been riding the Metrolink daily now for several months. It's a great place to people watch. Getting on at the Shrewsbury stop in the morning is a rather regimented commute. People almost have assigned seats. Since Shrewsbury is the final stop on the blue line, the train is always empty, so you almost always get your own seat. By that I mean, no one sitting next to you.

However, the ride home from Clayton to Shrewsbury is really busy having picked up scads of DT workers. So what is the proper male etiquette on public transportation? When you board the train, do you:

snag the first seat available?

hesitate to see if others will occupy the few remaining seats before you?

stand and hold on to the rails, deferring the few remaining seats to others?

offer the seat to the elderly first?

offer the seat to women first? Is that outdated?

I discovered another public transportation etiquette tidbit when we were researching a trip to NYC. Many of the books we read about the subways said, board the subway quickly and make way to the center of the car when crowded. It also says New Yorkers notoriously don't make eye contact with other riders. WTF? If I was paying the crazy bucks to live in NYC, I'd be people watching like a mofo. That's one of the coolest things about NYC, the mix of people.

STL is a stark contrast. People are talking and having conversations on the train. So many riders during the rush hour are regulars and they've come to know each other in many cases. The trains are at times very loud with people talking. I like that. STL is personable, it's citizens are not faceless and socially removed like many bigger cities. I like the vibe.

What are your experiences on STL public transit compared to other cities?


  1. I used NYC public transportation for about three years, and have been riding metrolink regularly for about a year now. You're right, New Yorkers are less social on public transport. And they definitely don't think too much about where to sit; if there's an open seat you better snatch is fast before someone else does! That said, people are polite about giving up seats for those that really need them (elderly, disabled, pregnant, etc).

    The one thing that I have to say about users of STL public transport is that they haven't yet discovered that part of transport etiquette that says that when boarding the train, you should stay clear of the door and give those exiting the train plenty of room to get off. Any time that I exit the metro at the Forest Park station I have to fight my way through a hoard of folks pressing their way onto the train! Not cool.

  2. Half my family is from NYC. Which automatically means I am accustomed to NYC public transportation.

    IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM is NYC Mass Transit comparable to The Metrolink. It's a first come, first serve basis whether your white, orange, female, or 90 years old.

    They typically do not make much eye contact, or are friendly as Midwesterner's. This is due to social hardening of being surrounded by 8.3 million people daily. Not that they are unfriendly people, it just comes with the territory.

    With my background, I say sit down if you see an open seat. Obviously, if you see an elderly person without a seat, then offer them to sit. Otherwise it's fair game in my eyes.

  3. Now a question of etttiquite, as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch?