The Right Way to Ride the Subway

Stone / Chris Turner

Stone / Chris Turner

When riding the subway, it is common courtesy to step aside for an outgoing passenger while the train is stopped, doors are open and riders filing out. This protocol prevents a buildup of passengers waiting or allowing others to enter or exit the subway.

Keep your voice to a minimum and personal thoughts to yourself. If you need to speak with someone on the phone, refrain from using it until you depart your car or until your car clears out.

If a subway car is empty, then it must be so for a reason. There is no need to ask other passengers or the conductor if you are able to board the empty car, just find a sparsely populated car instead.

If you are not a native to the subway system and therefore do not understand its intricate workings, do the mapping and figure out the logistics prior to leaving your home or apartment. This will not only save you time and heartache trying to find, read and decipher a posted map, but also will keep you on high alert for your next stop, pedestrians or out of control suitcases.

Asking a subway native is a possibility but inconsistencies occur, as some may be perturbed at your lack of knowledge for their everyday transportation.

If you drop your phone on the track, say goodbye. Nobody should or will help you retrieve it.

If the subway car is packed, remove your backpack and place it between your legs so as to free up a seat. No item should replace a person when it comes to space on a car. That being said, women, elderly, and children take priority when it comes to seating. Your seat is never permanent.

Moving to the center of a car is a must when there are high traffic patterns. This will save you the hassle of being scrutinized towards by an irritable native trying to make space for the rest of the passengers.

Leaning on a pole both does not provide enough support to keep you from tumbling down the car and removes the ability for others to have such support. Don’t take up an entire pole for yourself, you will get strange looks and possibly rude comments.

Leaning over the “do-not-cross” lines while waiting for your ride does not make the train come any faster and may result in injury.

Consider your body odor before boarding your car; others don’t need to know your shower schedule or what you at for dinner the previous night. However, while proper hygiene is always encouraged, do not clip your nails or brush your teeth in your subway car.

It is improper to eat on a subway car as it contributes to the already peculiar smell; wait until you are home.

Vigilance is a must. Keep an eye on all your belongings, you are still in the city.

Never cheat the fare, no matter what rush you are in. There is always someone watching and chances are it will take longer to skip it than pay it.

When on the escalator or stairs, the right is the slow lane while the left is for the faster crowd. Remembering this will prevent any buildups.

Don’t ever play music without any headphones. This is common courtesy everywhere, not just subways and not everyone shares the same taste in music you do.

Make sure your wet umbrella isn’t watering the other passengers; shake it off before you enter the station to avoid any well-deserved confrontation.

Keep your head down and your thoughts to yourself. Unless you are a street performer that plans on dancing through the car or singing, make sure eye contact is avoided and you mind your business; it is still public transportation. Instead, bring a book or look through the daily news on your phone to help pass the time.

Any Public Display of Affection is unacceptable in any intimate form of transportation which goes for subways too. Don’t wrap up traffic looking for your subway card, but instead have it out and ready for use each time it is necessary.

If you are too tired to make it home without a small snooze, make sure you have an alarm set to your stop so you don’t ride it to the end and have to taxi back or loop around. Also, make sure you have a large amount of room so as not to fall asleep on another passenger.

Above all, please stand clear, doors closing.