Sit Down and Shut Up: Learning to Ride the T Unselfishly

The T Green Line enters North Station.

OK everyone, I had hoped that the etiquette issues would have stopped with walking down the street. However, much to my dismay, it seems that riding the T AND being aware of other people simultaneously is next to impossible.  As an off campus student, every morning and every afternoon I have the pleasure of riding the steel love boat that we refer to as the T. Typically my short ride is fairly pleasant, but it seems that there are always one or two people who have to ruin the ride for everyone. Why is it that we get into a confined, steel space, packed in with other people like sardines, and still cannot possibly fathom that our actions are affecting others? What good will our higher education do for us if we lack the all important common sense factor? The rules that should be applied for riding the T are simple. Follow them and your trip and the trip of your fellow travelers will be ten thousand times more pleasant.

1. Turn Down the Volume:

Seriously people, nobody wants to listen to your music, and if your iTunes library looks anything like mine, you really don’t want people to be aware of the crap that is spewing from your head phones. There is nothing more irritating when you are on the T than the background noise of someone’s iPod invading your personal thoughts.

2. Call this rule Turn Down the Volume part two. Yes, it is about volume, but this time it has nothing to do with machinery. When you are riding the T with your friend(s) you are typically standing next to one another. To the civilized human being, this instantly negates the need to YELL to each other. Apparently, college students on the B line don’t fit into the civilized human category as much as we all would have hoped. It’s rather sad. Just don’t yell on the T. Think indoor voice.

3. This is on my favorite: KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS ON THE T.

In my three years at BU I have been truly amazed by the amount of people that I have seen sucking each other’s faces off on the damn T. Now, if you have just had a chance encounter with the planet’s hottest model and they want you, this rule does not apply. However, I have seen people making out on the T and none of them are hot enough to even come close to the required level of attractiveness. No one that you would have to ride the T with is so ridiculously hot that you cannot possibly wait to make out until you are in the privacy of your own home or at least in a dark corner somewhere, so don’t do it. Your face-slurping is unpleasant to the eyes and the ears.

4. Avoid Running Into People AND Their Bags:

This is the thing that gripes me the most while I am on my Bostonian Public Transportation Adventures. No matter how I hold it or what size it is, my purse gets run into like  the finish line tape at the marathon. IS THIS REALLY NECESSARY? At first I thought it was me so I changed the size of my purse and how I was holding it, but nada. People ran into that thing like there was some kind of person magnet sewn into the lining. And apparently, people feel that when they run into your bag, they are hitting an inanimate object, so they don’t have to apologize. THEY DO. Please people, try to avoid other people’s bags, and if it;s totally impossible, throwing out a quick ‘sorry’ will probably make you their new knight in shining armor.

5. Don’t bring luggage on the T:

I thought this would be common sense also, but apparently my idea of common sense is totally skewed. If you are traveling, don’t bring your luggage on the T. A weekend duffle bag is fine, just be aware that it is there and attached to your body. Those of you who go to the airport for winter  break on the T, I personally want to punch every single one of you in the face. If you have to catch a flight, just pay $50 dollars its costs to take a cab. Getting you plus your dead body-sized bag on and off the T is unplesant for everyone around you. Just don’t do it.

About Sarah Cox

Sarah Cox (CAS '11) writes "Socially Yours," a social manners column, for the Quad. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and is now living full time in Boston. She is studying Art History and hopes to stay on for her masters. One of her goals in life is to one day own a penguin. She would also like to stop dropping the F bomb so much -- class it up a little bit.

View all posts by Sarah Cox →

10 Comments on “Sit Down and Shut Up: Learning to Ride the T Unselfishly”

  1. I have definite issues with all the types of people you mentioned. Seriously, people have NO CLUE how to ride the T, I swear. Anyways, you hit this nail on the head 🙂

  2. Hmmm I have to disagree with you about the luggage thing….the cab ride to the airport usually costs more than my flight. It’s not worth it unless 1) the weather is really bad 2) I can find someone to split cab fare with. It’s just too expensive on a college girl’s budget!

  3. Yeah, I can see how the luggage thing can go both ways- It does suck for other people to have to deal with other’s baggage. I do like the sense of humor in the article and I think people need to be quieter all around.

  4. I agree with everything except the last bit. The whole reason I’m taking a bus instead of the train is to save money, and honestly I think it goes for a lot of college students right now, saving money whenever possible is key.

  5. Disagree about the luggage thing. Not everyone can afford / wants to pay the $50 cab to the airport. And honestly, it’s not that hard to move out of the way when someone with a big suitcase is getting on and off a train. I travelled to Paris on the TGV from Switzerland – I know that’s a little different since they have luggage racks – but I was very grateful to the gentleman who helped me with my two heavy suitcases. Sometimes people have to get places by train with impractical baggage. Be nice.

    And for the making out thing – who cares if a couple is going at it on the T? I used to complain about this but I’ve recently started dating again and I realized that I was getting old and uptight – when you really like someone, you forget who’s around you and you can’t keep your hands off the person. I’ve made out on planes, on trains and outside Fitrec. It’s GREAT! And I’ve thought all my boyfriends were model-hot. So even if they weren’t models, I thought they were so hot that I couldn’t wait. Who says kissing is just for the bedroom? I think PDAs are very sexy and romantic.

  6. I think you make some great points.

    Excessive PDA is disgusting, especially in Boston where people are rarely attractive enough to suck face with anyone else. Save it for California and Hollywood.

    The music and yelling is a great observation. I’ve rode the T for two years now and it’s amazing how loud someone’s earphones can get, how can they listen at that volume when I can hearing every note and voice crack perfectly?

    Now the bag this is unfortunately unavoidable. The T is a thin “steel love boat”; Americans are generally overweight and carry their entire lives in their purses (ladies – you don’t need all that stuff!). I try and do my best to squeeze past the fatties but i will have to move their bag because they are taking up the whole aisle.

    Luggage is necessary come traveling time, I am not paying $50 bucks for a cab ride when it will only cost me $2.

    My biggest annoyance with the T is actually the spacing issue. People do not understand how to distribute themselves in the T. At busy times, people will enter and STAND exactly where they walked in (the lower level)! This occurrence creates a crowd at the entrances leaving the upper level empty; I could stand there if I could only get in the car!

  7. I believe expecting others to pay an extra $48 to take a taxi to the airport so you can have a little extra leg room is rather selfish in itself. Maybe the other riders should chip in and buy the traveler a cab to make it easier on him/her (not a serious suggestion).

    Other than that, spot on. Even if you are supermodel hot, the T isn’t exactly the spot to show off your attractiveness. PDAs might be “sexy and romantic” for those involved, but for the rest it ranges from awkward to nauseating.

  8. You know, honey, just because your daddy fills your checking account once a week to cover all of your little diva expenses does not mean the rest of us are so fortunate. Believe it or not, cab rides are a luxury, and $50 is not just a few bucks–if you’re taking a bus home, like one to New York City, your round trip Greyhound ticket is actually less than that. So to splurge on a taxi just so you have more room to stretch out your Tori Burch-clad feet is a little ridiculous. If you have such a big problem, how about you take a cab? The T is not your car. Each of your other points is perfectly valid, but this particular one makes you seem like a spoiled brat. Time to reassess.

  9. I have to say that all your points here are spot on, especially the point about the luggage. I don’t want someone’s suitcase falling into me while I try to go to work or class or whatever because that person is just too cheap to take a cab. Find a friend and split a cab (or even 2). It’s not hard! We’re all on a budget these days, but that doesn’t mean that common courtesy should be neglected. Apparently, for some of use, etiquette has gone out of style!

    BTW anon: When did it become okay to personally attack someone you don’t even know. You would think that higher education would make one open to others opinions. Apparently, learning is lost on some.

  10. Erin: When did it become OK to call people who have to work to put themselves through college and can’t afford luxuries like cabs “cheap”? I’m attacking the ignorance and snobbish attitude of the writer. It’s clear you’re of the same mold. Being fortunate enough to be able to do things like take cabs to the airport is something you should feel lucky to do, not something you should take for granted and expect of others. This is not an issue of etiquette, it’s an issue of money. Have you not noticed that everyone else who commented on this also shot down the luggage rule? No one who wasn’t at least somewhat privileged would ever think that argument was acceptable.

    I promise, next time I’m taking luggage with me, I’ll take a cab. Just send me a check.

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