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All Aboard the Etiquette Train

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We've recently surrendered to the abyss that is public transit in LA. We're adept users of mass transit, having logged in some serious train, bus, and streetcar time in some of North America's biggest cities. And it's hard to explain to people outside of our fair metropolis what it's like to use the MTA here on a regular basis. Sure, our subways are much cleaner than New York's--of course they're 100 years younger, too. And we all can agree that by and large, LA is a driver's town, and deliberately so. So naturally the city's subway users are behind the times on subway etiquette. It's gotten so bad lately that we're ready to speak up about it.

Subway boarding etiquette. People, let everyone off before you try to shove your way on! It's common sense. It's common courtesy. It's logical, it's polite, and it's fair. You'll get on, and most likely get a seat if you just step aside and let the nice people out. Don't stand directly facing the doors, with that steely "a ha, I'm goin' in!" expression! All you're doing is creating a barrier between the people on the train and the platform. Think about when you want off that train--the people standing there facing you are probably going to get a swift elbow to the gut from you because, hey, whadda ya know, they're in your way! If you're that close to the train, it's not going to leave without you. So step aside, for crying out loud!

Escalator riding etiquette. Have any of you heard of "Walk Left, Stand Right?" It's pretty common practice. Some folks like to sprint up the escalator--they've got connections to make, they're feeling sporty, they're in a hurry, whatever. If you're feeling more leisurely, stand to the right, so as to let those people pass by you freely. And above all, don't stand in the middle!

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There are plenty of other etiquette issues, and some that aren't exclusive to train riding, and these include, but are not limited to: Controlling your sticky, noisy, fussy, obnoxious children; Trying to sell pirated movies or cartons of cigarettes to fellow passengers; Not having proper hygeine; Asking questions of the one person in the general area who is wearing headphones, when they are wearing the headphones so as to avoid being asked questions; Hitting on or trying to pick up fellow passengers; Being stupid enough to not pay your fare; Staring; Initiating racially, politically, sexually, or any other -ally controversial rants or soapbox speeches to a captive audience of strangers who don't give a damn; Making out so much that other people start to mutter "Get a room"; and, last, but by no means least: It is never, under any circumstance, acceptable to urinate while standing and facing the Metro Red Line Information/Directory just outside the Hollywood & Western station at the top of the escalators. Yes, sir, We mean you. Zip it up.