It’s Opening Day at AT&T Park in San Francisco, an exciting time for Giants baseball fans but a nightmare for daily commuters taking public transit.
There is an unspoken code of conduct that seasoned commuters in the Bay Area abide by but it is often disrupted by major events like baseball season due to the influx of new travelers who are unaware of commuter courtesy or simply refuse to abide by the law of the land.
We see you, inexperienced commuter. We are judging you. We are mean-mugging you. To help you avoid humiliation and potential confrontation with a daily commuter, here are the 7 unspoken commandments of commuting on BART and MUNI in the San Francisco-Bay Area:
1. Thou shall wait for commuters to off board the train/bus before getting on board.
DO NOT attempt to squeeze through the side while people are trying to make their way out because you will disrupt the flow of traffic and delay the train/bus from leaving.
2. Thou shall not pry the doors open as they are closing.
“The doors are closing. Please stand clear of the doors,” says the automated robotic BART operator. That doesn’t mean stick your arm or leg through the door and try to pry it open. Not only are you putting yourself in danger, you are delaying everyone on board and potentially ruining everyone’s commute by breaking the door.
Unlike elevators that re-open upon sensing an obstruction, some MUNI trains and buses don’t. Don’t be like this woman:
3. Thou shall not crowd around the door if it’s not your stop coming up next.
Often times the people who crowd around the door are not getting off at the next stop, which causes congestion when people who need to on/off board are forced to squeeze around them. It’s not a race to be the first one on or off the transit. Chill.
4. Thou shall not stop in front of the doorway.
Not sure which way the elevator or exit is? Clear the doorway first before trying to figure it out. DO NOT stop abruptly to look around while other commuters are trying to get on/off the transit. The best way to figure this out is to not be the first one out the door and simply follow the flow of traffic.
5. Thou shall not weasel thy way to the front of a line.
Typically, commuters will form a line, with the person who has been waiting the longest in front. DO NOT cut the line. You will get mean mugged or worse, confronted and humiliated by the sea of seasoned commuters you just disrespected.
On a side note, does anyone else find it ironic how people are so antsy to on-board a train/bus but are slower than a blind turtle to get off?
6. Thou shall respect the rules of the escalator.
Right side is for standing; left side is for walking. If you’re directly behind the person who is standing on the left side, you’d be doing us all a favor by asking them to move a la derecha.
…and last but not least…
7. Thou shall not stop at the top of the escalator.
Same as rule #4. It’s a bottle-neck so you need to move out of the way to allow the flow of traffic to continue uninterrupted.
Whether you’re new to taking public transit or a regular, the most important thing to keep in mind is courtesy. Offer your seat to someone who could use it more than you and be mindful of these unofficial but long-established codes of conduct. You’ll be much happier, safer and look more experienced.
Do you have any horror commuter stories? I’d love to hear them!