In Boston, the transit system is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country among New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington D.C. It’s so wonderful to live in a place where public transportation is so easily accessible. As someone who was used to driving everywhere in Texas, it is a refreshing change to be able to walk or ride most places, especially since I cannot drive in Boston.
Disclaimer: I say I cannot drive because I really have not figured out the Boston rules of the road — and frankly, they are so aggressive that I’m uncomfortable just learning on the job.
In any case, I’ve become a fairly regular bus and train rider. As I was commuting into my office last week, it hit me that there is an unspoken code on the bus and train that can take a while to interpret. Here’s an initial breakdown of some of this code (based on my own experience):
- Don’t talk to strangers (or really make eye contact) unless you have to*
- Lose any notion you have of personal space.
- Give yourself at least 10-15 minutes of wiggle time when trying to end up at a destination at a specific time.
- If it doesn’t look like you can fit on the train, you probably can’t but others will try. In that case, see number 2.
- Be prepared to give up your seat for seniors, those with disabilities or injuries or children.
- Wait until you’re off the bus or train to make your call.
- Bring a book or grab the Metro — you never know if there will be delays.
- Always carry some cash — in case your forget your T pass or run low on the amount.
*This is based on personal experience — as someone that grew up in the South, I’m accustomed to starting a conversation with strangers about the weather, how’s UT going to do today, I heard you mention xyz and I just ate there or visited, etc. Let’s just say it’s a Southern charm/hospitality thing. Not necessarily an acceptable practice on the T in Boston.
I’m sure there are plenty more but these are a good start. Honestly with so many people using public transportation in Boston, you never really know what your fellow passengers are dealing with from a personal or professional level. Once you force everyone into a small space together, things can get a bit stressful and frustrating. It’s important though to try to take things with a grain of salt — and when riding the T, remember the above rules.
Do you have others that should be added to this list? Add them to the comments section below.