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September 02, 2004

A few words for my fellow Bay Area Rapid Transit riders

Hello, other BART passengers. I'm that guy that tries to mind his own business, sitting at the end of the car listening to his iPod. You know, the guy that travels between the East Bay and San Francisco every weekday, usually at rush hour? Yeah. How ya doin.

Riding BART is hardly ever fun, but it's gotten more annoying in the last few years. Most of you make the best of a less than pleasant situation, but there are a few of you who actually make things worse. Most of the time, that probably isn't deliberate. (If you're under the age of seventeen, it probably IS deliberate, you probably aren't listening, and you might as well click here and go away.)

So I've come up with a few pointers - some easy little things to keep in mind - that will keep you from fatally annoying hundreds of people you don't know. Here we go.

1) Most of us can read. So we all know what the little sign behind you in those special roomy seats means - the one that says "please yield these seats to disabled people or seniors." And we assume that you can read as well. So when someone boards who's using a walker, or is eight and a half months pregnant and staggering, or who looks to be more than 105 years old, and you don't even ask if that person wants to sit, it makes you look bad. And for the rest of us, our faith in human kind suffers, which is irritating. Especially if you and the friend you're talking to so happily have obviously just come from a workout. Give up your damn seat.

2) Most of us have gotten used to cell phones on the train, and we don't mind them all that much anymore. This does not mean you should feel free to play every single ring tone a few times to select the one you like best. Do that at home.

3) Also, when the train goes into a tunnel, you KNOW you'll lose the call. We know you know it, too, because you just told the person you were talking to that you were about to go into a tunnel and you might lose the call. So why do you yell "hello?" into the thing for the next five hundred yards underground? Cut it out.

4) Encouraging your child to learn how the world works at every opportunity is a fine thing. This does not make it a good thing for you, during rush hour, to allow your three-year-old to put his own ticket through the turnstile, no matter how many attempts it takes him.

5) Especially if you have four kids, and they each use their own turnstile.

6) The only useful information on the fare card is the remaining value. That value will not change no matter how long you stare at the card. If the card doesn't open the turnstile on the first try, standing in that turnstile reading your card while people line up behind you will not cause the turnstile to admit its mistake and open up for you with a nice apology.

7) Escalators move at a constant speed. They will not speed up or lurch just as you reach the end. There's no need to freeze up in panic before you step off.

8) Clean a little of that chain oil off the non-chain parts of your bike before you rub it against my leg, or against the seat where I will soon be sitting.

9) None of us likes to wait. But your loud, whining complaints on the platform that the train is taking too long to arrive? way worse than waiting the extra two minutes. Put a sock in it, willya?

10) If you're standing on the escalator heading out of the station, and it starts to rain, and your umbrella is wider than the escalator, and you are four feet eight inches tall, please consider refraining from opening your umbrella until you actually start to risk getting wet.

Thanks, and thank you for riding BART.

Posted by Chris Clarke at September 2, 2004 07:31 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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I'm laughing. The clueless are everywhere among us, aren't they?

I will, however, admit to being one of those annoying people who hesitates (then bolts forward) at the bottom of the escalator. (I nearly fell face-first into those teeth once as a child, so I feel I have some excuse.) Going up, on the other hand, I leap in a sprightly fashion to avoid the teeth, so I suppose it works out. (Maybe)

Posted by: Rana at September 7, 2004 10:36 AM
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