Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pardon My Suitcase

Many daily riders carry enough bags for an assault on Everest--just to go to work. Others carry suitcases, probably either to and from Union Station or National Airport. Several readers have inquired to see what others think is the appropriate etiquette for carrying luggage on WMATA.

Let 'er rip.

Other items:
DC's newest sports celeb sets example for other DC "elite" (WaPo)
Metro report to be given in secret (WaPo)

44 comments:

Riz said...

Next to you like in that top photo? Sure.

All up in the aisle like in that bottom one? Hells no. That's when I start kicking 'em over.

Anonymous said...

Treat yourself and others by taking a taxi...

matthewvb said...

I think it's fine - it's more of a matter of still being a good rider and keeping your bag as out-of-the-way as possible.

Anonymous said...

When I am going to Reagan, I don't use the center doors of the train, but stay towards the ends. If I sit, I sit in the front seats. If I'm near the doors, I get out at each stop to let people in. I treat suitcases like a bike.

Anonymous said...

Appropriate etiquette: if your bags are larger than you are, take a goddam cab. Also, don't drag small black roller-bags behind you. That's like throwing banana peals on the platform.

Oh, and European backpackers: I hate you. Hate hate hate your smelly luggage.

Anonymous said...

I vote taxi if they are large enough to put a human inside or you have more than one.

Small ones next to you or in your lap.

Michael said...

Oh, this is a tough one. Sure, we generally want to encourage transit use to get to travel hubs, but giant suitcases are problematic during rush hour.

IMHO, if you're heading to the airport from the Orange Line between 8 and 9 AM, you should wait for two trains in quick succession and hop on the 2nd or take a cab instead. (Evening rush hour is less of a problem because most traffic is outbound on the OL). I'm sure other readers can supply advice about their lines. Crush-level crowds are hard enough with messenger bags, gym bags and purses, let alone suitcases.

OTOH, how likely is it that airport travelers are locals who know the Metro system well enough to apply that? A substantial portion of them are out of towners, to be sure.

I don't think there's any hard and fast rule here. It's annoying, but as long as no one's taking up a seat with their suitcase, I'm inclined to let it slide.

Anonymous said...

ugh the backpackers with the smelly luggage and nasty shoes tied to the ginormous backpack, hate them the most.

Anonymous said...

it's not the natives that are the most egregious offenders... i wish they'd require a metro etiquette class before selling you a 1 day pass online. or make you sign some sort of "i won't be an ahole agreement.

Christina said...

If you can get a front row seat, do that and keep your suitcase in front of you. Don't travel during rush hour if possible. And don't be like the douchebag last week who effectively blocked the entire aisle by leaning against a pole with a rolling suitcase next to him. DURING RUSH HOUR.

And ditto on the rolling back behind you. I keep my gym bag in front of me walking for that very reason. People are a lot less aware of the space they take up behind them.

Anonymous said...

sorry, guys, but airfares are expensive enough and with the airports here being so accessible via public transit, i'm saving my $$ and not cabbing it. the min i'd have to pay for a cab if i took one both ways to the airport is $40 versus the less than $5 if i use metro. i, however, am a frequent flyer and never pack more than a carry on so it's not like i ever have a lot of stuff.

that being said, as a frequent metro rider with luggage, it's awkward. you try as hard as you can to keep the bag out of the way, but it's not the easiest thing to do on these trains. i make a conscious effort to stay toward the end of the train if possible, and always to make way for other passengers to pass. and since i do this, i would expect the same courtesy and not be judged or begrudged b/c i have a carryon rollerboard suitcase with me. i have just as much a right to be on the train with my bag as you do with your slim briefcase or purse or whatever. regardless of whether it's rush hour or not.

Anonymous said...

I think matthewvb said it best. My pet peeve on all this is setting the dang thing down and ignoring it so it will tip over and snash on my ankle! WHY do people think their non-living bags are self sufficient entities? And on that note about the non-US travelers: smelly luggage I can abide (though not easily). It is the smelly FEET propped up on the poles so I can see and smell 'em, along with a crotch view I really don't need! Perhaps that is why I have no desire to visit other countries for vacation. ;-)

Anonymous said...

amen to 12:28 - I'm not paying, nor should taxpayers pay $40 when the government sends me to the airport. I'm saving you money.

That said - End of the car if I can, if in the middle I take up a full bench seat by putting my luggage on the floor on the inside and my backpack in the seat. I may be taking up two seats but I'm out of the aisle and leaving room for others.

Anonymous said...

Went to work today with my new shoes only to have them rolled over by a woman weilding a roller bag. I mumbled under my breath and then I became the @sshole. I'm sorry, please allow me to move for your sherpa-ness!

Anonymous said...

As comfortable as metro's cars can be, they are not designed with open space in mind (CTA has the same issue, at least based on my own trip on the Blue Line from OHare). As much as it means less seating in general, I am a big fan of the amount of open space on NY subway cars.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Uh, where am I supposed to be pulling my black roller bag? No matter where I pull it, those of you who seem to be taking offense at my need to have one - gasp, during rush hour! - seem to be the ones who insist on tripping over it. Just a suggestion - watch for roller bags. PLEASE. Especially in Metro Center. kthxybe.

Anonymous said...

On a crowded red line train during rush hour, I like to get (if I can easily) all the way to the door at either end of the train, between the last seats, and put my luggage next to me. Then, generally everyone can come and go without having to worry about my bag. If it isn't crowded or rush hour, then I sit in one of the "sideways" seats, with my bag between my legs, under the seat, or if too big, right in front of me.

Anonymous said...

I often see people on Metro with 3 or more bags. Big ones. They're not heading to the airport or train station either. How much crap does one need to tote back and forth to work? Pare down people!

Anonymous said...

For the roller bags, it's very simple. It's a roller bag, not a dog on a long leash. Roll it close to you, not 87 feet behind you. And don't stand forever at the top or bottom of an escalator while you shift it into your hand before very gingerly stepping onto said escalator.

Anonymous said...

I've successfully traversed the Metro system, at rush hour, with luggage. It's just NOT that hard. Like others have said, end of the cars, out of the way. Even if there are people there, if you say, "hey, would you mind if I stood there so that my bag's out of the way" they'll often accommodate (they usually don't want to trip over your bag, either). You can also get smaller bags UNDER the seats, which is a SUPERGREAT way to keep space open when the trains are crowded. Also, on the newer cars with the big open spaces near the doors, you can get the bag against the wall with you next to it and minimize your space impact.

Other tips...take the blue line to Reagan, it's usually less crowded. Keep your bag as close to you as possible (i.e., don't stretch your arm all the way out behind you), and you can push it in front of you in really crowded situations (really, this DOES work and YOU can see the other people and avoid hitting them with it). Four-wheel roller bags are a good option if you use them properly (again, close to the body, not at arm's length, and in front in crowds).

But the best advice is to avoid rush hour if possible. It's not like you don't normally have a choice in booking flights, and taking the 11 AM instead of the 10 AM means you're not fighting rush hour on the trains. I typically fly late nights, as this same logic applies (I can get on the train at 7 PM, when crowds are way down). But I get that some people have to travel, and have to do it during rush hour, just BE NICE about the fact that you're taking up the space of 2 people!

And Meg...I can't see your roller bag. I have limited vision outside of a direct line in front of me in low-light conditions, which all Metro platforms are. I trip over roller briefcases very regularly. You're definitely one of those people who feels that you have a right to take up as much space as you want, in whatever way you want, and it's others' responsibility to watch out for YOU and YOUR STUFF. Please, get a home office and stay there.

Mags said...

you know, i think it's questions like this that help perpetuate negativity towards public transit. of course it's OK to bring your luggage on the train! and yes, people with luggage need to be aware of their bags and invoke the same courtesy as ANYONE ELSE should on a train or bus. i'm somewhat shocked by other posters' major disdain for people with luggage. and those who ride with it during rush hour. i mean, quelle horreur!

people, it's PUBLIC transit. not "transit for people who don't carry items with them during rush hour." yes, common courtesy needs to be applied but EVERYONE needs to realize that they're not the only rider on this thing and we ALL need to do a little give & take. and sometimes that means stepping around a suitcase and perhaps excusing someone for accidentally rolling over a foot here & there. (of course, if it wasn't an accident, then mutter under your breath all you want.) not everyone is going to work b/w 7am and 9am...some people have to go to school. or the doctor. or the airport. or someplace else even. and, this may require different accessories than what you bring on the train.

Anonymous said...

agreed @ "Mags"

Typical "me, me, me" attitude... walk by the bag and keep it moving. If someone kicked my bag, they response would be quite equal :-)

Some people are cognizant of their bags, and do the best to keep them out of the way.

I will say however, those rolling briefcases are annoying, especially when people lacidasically drag them with out regard to anyone around them.

Mags said...

sorry...want to clarify that the original question does not perpetuate the negativity. that's fine - proper etiquette is needed and there are some helpful tips up there. i should've said it's the attitude of some of these posters that perpetuate it. work together, people! that's all!

Riz said...

@Mags Maybe if tourists weren't so annoying, we'd have a little more patience for them and there 500 f'ing bags that they need for a three day trip to DC.

Anonymous said...

during rush hour people with rolling suitcases need to PICK UP the suitcases when moving it into or off the train. dont roll it like there is plenty of space, because there isnt. it makes it much easier for everyone if you pick your shit up for a few seconds.

RogerPL said...

If you're wearing a backpack and are standing on a crowded train, take it off please and put it at your feet.

Anonymous said...

oh don't get this anon going on those backpacks. How I wish people would be aware of their extra-large humpbacks!

And how interesting this conversation mirrors the one from the other day. What's a major problem with Metro? Lack of common courtesy torwards your "unknown neighbor!"

I'd claim a desire for the good ole days but... were there really any good ole days? :)

Anonymous said...

I just wish people who stand in front of doors on a crowded train would step off when they open to let people out and not block the doors. Seriously, how f@#king hard is it to figure this out??

heatherfeather said...

Wow, maybe I've been lucky but living a few stops from the airport, I rarely have problems with people and their luggage. There isn't a set area for luggage and I'd worry about someone taking it, if I wasn't standing nearby. As someone who's taken luggage on the Tube and Paris Metro at rush hour(due to plane arrival/departure), I really can't complain.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I won't comment on the wheelies for work, but please if people are going to National or Union Station, they are free and welcome to bring their luggage. I don't even think this should be up for question! THIS IS WHY WE HAVE PUBLIC TRANSIT!!!! Suitcases for travel, hell yes! all aboard and all welcome.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

I do try to be very conscious of my wheelie bag and believe me, it's as much of a PITA for me to drag it from client site to client site as it apparently is for you to have to watch out for it. It's too heavy to carry (whoever suggested that). Ths point about the low-lit stations is well taken (Metro, are you listening? Improve platform lighting!).

So, those of you who are in such a hurry that you can't glance down or see me trying to dodge out of your way - please accept my blanket "EXCUSE ME" now and my humble apologies for invading your space with my livelihood. On PUBLIC transportation.

Anonymous said...

Yes Meg, I honestly don't get why people complain about boxes, backpacks, strollers, and suitcases. This is what public transportation is for! We should applaud them for making the effort. Sheesh.

Sometimes it seems like the complainers expect you to bring your flat purse or nothing at all. Please. Forget that. Be polite, say excuse me if you have to, walk around it, politely ask if someone could move it out of your way if necessary. As Jerry Seinfeld said, "We're trying to have a civilization here!"

Suitcases ALLOWED.

Anonymous said...

If you are so weak that you can't pick up your fucking bag (wheelie, suitcase, whatever) and move efficiently through a station without being in several peoples way, then the only place you need to be going is to the gym.

Personally I'm fine with luggage if people manage it well. What I dislike alot are the wheelie cases. These people take up 3 person lengths behind them by dragging their burden on the ground. Pick that shit up and walk briskly to the escalator, do not delay, do not shift from hand to hand, just get off a train, walk, stand, walk, get on another train. How fucking hard is that?

Another thing I hate is women that bring 3 or more bags with them during rush hour or any other time. WTF is wrong with these creatures?? Trust me, you can pack efficiently and have your laptop, gym clothes (and towel), and some minor purse (cultural baggage that women should really liberate themselves from) items in 1 bag. To top it off these women often put all their unneeded crap on the seat next to them and won't move so other people can sit. How could they move? They've occupied the next seat with all of their hoarder shit.

Anonymous said...

I usually drive to my office the night before I head out of town and drop my bulky luggage off there. That way when I get on the Metro to head into work during rush hour on Friday morning I am not burdened with it. It's just as much about me not wanting to lug it around and avoid others as it is a common courtesy to everyone else.

Oh, and to the lady who elbowed me in the stomach this morning on the Metro because she wasn't paying attention and wasn't holding onto anything when the train started moving.... eff you for not even bothering to apologize.

Autumn said...

Luggage is not the issue on metro. It's the people with the luggage. You'd be surprised how a little self-awareness and common courtesy goes a long way.

However, in this city people feel they have a right to do whatever they want and don't care if it impacts other people.

Try not to drag your bag far behind you - be mindful of others when getting on and off the train and do your best to keep things out of the aisles and away from the doors.

If you inconvenience someone, run over their foot, trip them or create any issues with your bag, just apologize politely, smile and move on.

I had to yell at a woman yesterday on the red line who was pushing me from behind to get onto an already stuffed train at about 6:45pm. I simply turned around and said "please don't push, it really doesn't help" and she apologized and turned a bit red.

Then at Woodley Park, there were a dozen or so people waiting for the street level elevator and as soon as it arrived people started to pour into it as fast as possible. A woman next to me stated "there is a man in a wheelchair" and some people stopped to let him on, but a few remained in the elevator making it awkard for him to maneuver in. Sad, really.

Whether it's luggage, backpacks, loud music, cell phones or just loud talkers - it seems if we don't demand courtesy, we won't get it.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree about women who carry 2 bags or more. I am a woman who uses a backpack for all of her stuff. I don't feel the need to have a matching purse and shoes. I have a feeling most of them are just in it for the fashion statement, that's all! One girl dug through her bags on Metro the other day: one holding all of her electronics (iPod, iPhone, iTouch (I swear all 3!), camera, laptop, etc) and the other her shoes, her makeup, her regular cell(!!), and some shoes. Woman, Really?!?! I model my bag habits after men because I'm jealous they have less stuff LOL!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Gosh, now I'm half afraid I'll run into "Anonymous" in Metro Center during morning rush when I'm pulling my wheelie bag. Angry much? Holy cow. Take a deep breath, dude. I'll be super-careful to avoid you and if you would return the favor, I think we can all get along just fine.

rebw said...

Has anyone pointed out that this is part of the reason why Metro seats are floating: so that you can put your luggage beneath your seat or the seat in front of you. Mostly for people sitting down, but put your bag under the seat instead of the seat next to you and save some space.

Anonymous said...

@rebw the voice of reason! Metro needs to advertise this because I bet this doesn't occur to most people.

Anonymous said...

Riders with luggage going to/from the 3 airports or Union Station should use public transportation whenever possible!!! Metro has stations at National Airport and Union Station and they aren't just for workers. Unfortunately, we don't have a different line to the airport/train station, such as in Madrid, where the cars to the airport are much wider than the cars within the city, allowing for large luggage. If you can't comfortably carry your luggage on/off train, take a cab. Otherwise, try to get in the first car. The last cars are more crowded now that trains are stopping at the front of the platform. If you're standing, turn luggage sideways and put between your legs. IF you are traveling with luggage during RUSH HOUR, do not attempt to board an obviously crowded train. Wait for the next car that isn't crowded, then strategically position yourself with your luggage so that you're out of the way as much as possible. This basically means you're standing. No sitting with luggage in aisle or sitting in a seat with luggage sitting next to you in the bench.

Anonymous said...

"If you can't comfortably carry your luggage on/off train, take a cab."

I would say, "If you can't comfortably carry your luggage on/off train, ask for help! Kindly."

"IF you are traveling with luggage during RUSH HOUR, do not attempt to board an obviously crowded train."

What the heck, miss your flight, miss your train. There might be one tomorrow. But AT ALL costs, never ever risk offending a Washington worker!!!

Don't do it!!!!!!!!!!! Aaaghhhg!

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with the luggage on the trains, but please carry the rolling luggage on the escalators. If the luggage takes up more than half the escalator, then you need to take the elevator so that people can pass. That goes for the strollers as well.

Anonymous said...

Yes, heaven forfend we should ever have to utter the words, "excuse me please."

Anonymous said...

"RogerPL said...

If you're wearing a backpack and are standing on a crowded train, take it off please and put it at your feet."

No. Way.

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