Trimet Riding Etiquette (Tri-Metiquette): #2 – Stay in your designated place until the train is stopped when getting off

tri-met, portland oregon max

Next up in my series of Tri-Metiquette posts: rule #2 – stay in your designated place until the train is stopped when getting off the train.

You know what I mean – the train begins to roll from a previous stop and an individual feels the need to get up and claw his/her way through the swarm of people so he/she can be directly in front of an exit for the next stop. Usually, when someone does this (which is all too frequent), several things happen:

  1. When the train starts braking, the person isn't quite in front of the exit, so they are hurled into a passenger and attempt to grab anything possible… usually someone instead of a railing
  2. The muscle spasm. Right as the brakes are applied, the person's body spams. This has resulted in toe stepping-on'ings, elbows to the chest & other such incidents
  3. The domino effect. This person needs to get through, so everyone else needs to move for them, which results in several people not being able to hold onto everything so when the brakes are applied, a cascade of muscle spasms can be seen (and, if close enough, most likely felt)

Let me offer some advice for those who feel like they need to proceed to the exit before the train starts stopping or is stopped:

You will be able to exit.

Trust me on this. Honest to goodness you will be able to get off at that stop. It'll be more convenient for you waiting until the train is stopped. You won't be bumping into people, you won't get those dirty looks from those who need to move to let you by. Just remember this: wait, train stop, get up and get out.


9 Responses to Trimet Riding Etiquette (Tri-Metiquette): #2 – Stay in your designated place until the train is stopped when getting off

  1. Mick September 26, 2007 at 4:10 pm #

    Wow. I couldn’t disagree more. Nothing annoys me more than people who aren’t prepared to exit the train when they should be. As a biker, I wait for all the other passengers to exit before unhooking and exiting myself. Having to wait for people to gather all their stuff and proceed to the door is just annoying.

  2. N.I.K. September 26, 2007 at 5:03 pm #

    Seconded, Mick. The described “domino effect” is ten times *more* irritating when some turdling at one of the furthest-from-door points in the train car has to make a last-minute effort to finagle their way through a horde of other passengers in order to reach the door in time. This is most especially true in a crowded car during peak service hours: the folks waiting to board are already getting on because they’ve already seen the last obvious exiting passenger, and because dunderhead either wasn’t paying attention or was just plain hanging around with their thumb in their ass, you’ve got two-way traffic to contend with. More people squeezing past and encroaching on your own personal space is never a good thing.

  3. none September 28, 2007 at 11:32 pm #

    thirded. this “rule” is way off base.

  4. The Stumptown Ghost October 1, 2007 at 10:24 am #

    What kind of crazy phenomenon makes people panic at MAX doors? If you are already at a door (coming or going) you don’t need to climb over the bodies of those in front of you to get on/ off. You are only cattle if you have a cow.

  5. Murph October 2, 2007 at 10:12 am #

    Sorry, Christian, you missed this one. As somebody who has *missed* stops on public transit (portland and elsewhere) becuase I didn’t stand up before the station, I can tell you that it is ill-advised to wait; the doors close fast when the operator’s in a hurry. As somebody who watches people try to get off, I can tell you that I *much* prefer someone to be up early, ask to get through, and be deliberate, rather than rush around with the doors open.

    A more useful rule would be:
    “If somebody needs to get off, let them through! If somebody needs to get off and you’re near the door, exit the train and let them through, then reboard. Operators will not leave without you if you do this; they can see down the platform.

  6. Christian October 2, 2007 at 10:38 am #

    I do exactly what you described, Murph. If I’m next to a door, when they open I get off, move to the side, and let people that need to get off through. Then reboard.

    And to address Mick’s comment – I’m not saying riders shouldn’t get prepared before the MAX stops. I mean, come on – of course you should get your bag ready, sling it over your shoulder (if you man-purse it up), or whatever, and generally be all ready to get the hell out when it stops. This is common sense. This “rule” (and that’s another thing – these aren’t rules. They’re merely suggestions for etiquette…) I’m just saying that the dude that comes through while it’s standing room only and I’m in the middle of the aisle that asks to get through while the MAX is still moving so I have to let go of support and, when the MAX starts braking, get shuffled a little so that my junk goes up against someone’s dome is the ‘problem’! If this person, who might be sitting in the middle, perhaps got all ready to go and while the train is stopping and almost stopped; THEN get up and start moving to get out – that would be ideal, at least for me…

  7. Jeff October 3, 2007 at 1:30 pm #

    As a Trimet operator (bus) and a former lightrail operator (Salt Lake City) I’m with the majority on this one. On the bus, especially with Trimet’s often extremely tight scedules there is nothing that annoys me more than someone who waits until the stop before they get up, brush themselves off, grab their stuff, say goodbye to their neighbors, then saunter over to the door….. someone who at the door and ready to hop off as soon as I stop is super mega appreciated! On lightrail it’s a little different, there’s plent of time to get off and be polite about it but there is certain politeness in being by the door and ready to get off the train quickly too. You shouldn’t be rude about getting to the door between stops, but being ready and making that move between stations isn’t something most people would consider a social faux pas.


  8. Ben October 4, 2007 at 12:21 pm #

    I tend to agree with Christian. People need to be prepared to leave, but they don’t need to claw through a crowded train to stand at the door when the train stops… Why? Inevitably, the 5 people that they’ve had the hardest time getting past are getting off at the same stop.
    To throw a little tangent on it – the other thing about PDX-ers is that we’re not very vocal, and people wait until the door closes to say “wait!” (on the bus anyway). I see people lamenting, gesturing & making faces all the time, but how hard is it to say “excuse me” in a loud enough voice for people to hear. Nobody wants to keep you on the train so you miss your stop. A little assertiveness goes a long way…
    And an even deeper, totally unwarranted tangent – People around here do the same thing in their cars. Not that I want to hear honking horns all the time, but if some jackass is on their phone and doesn’t realize they can make a right on red – honk at them. Not a “let’s fight” honk, more of a “pay attention” honk. To me – it’s all the same thing.
    And, I’m done.

  9. boricua October 4, 2007 at 9:51 pm #

    IMO the right thing to do when the MAX or bus is crowded is to get up after people have exited at the stop rior to yours. People leave, and when things start to settle down before the MAX or bus starts to move again, you get up and get closer to the door.

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