Thursday, June 18, 2009

Miss Manners on Mass Transit

One of our most popular posts is about annoying Metro behaviors. There are a lot.
Obviously, there is no official guide to how to comport oneself on mass transit--even "stand to the right" is ad hoc. Luckily, Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior has the answers to many vexing mass transit behavior quandaries.

In the updated 2005 edition of the book (p. 149), the etiquette enforcer tackles the following:
Giving up your seat to someone in need: "Standing room should be the reward going to those most able to stand comfortably."*
Getting on and off a train: "The American subway conventions have always consisted precisely of pushing and shoving."
Backpacks: "People who hit others with their burden are rude."
How to avoid that annoying co-worker who's on the same train: "Merely move your nose downward toward your open book."
And finally, escalators: "Yes, the riders should stand to the right to make a left lane for the passers. Should they fail to do so, however, you needn't stand fuming behind them. There is a magic phrase that can be invoked politely to get them to move. It is 'Excuse me, please.'"

*NYC is considering fines and even jail time for passengers who refuse to budge. (h/t @hostagehoosier)

Other news:
Should Purple Line be rail or bus? (WTOP)

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