Thursday, May 31, 2012

Subte Etiquette

This article is way overdue. Though I doubt it will yield any effect, I feel better knowing that somewhere out there, should anyone ever want to find it, there will be an article explaining how humans should act when taking the subway. I'm no international subway expert, but compared to the other subway systems that I have used in cities around the world, the Buenos Aires Subte is absolute savagery. The following are a list of suggestions, which I hope will be miraculously translated and widely circulated, to make riding the Subte a tolerable if not enjoyable experience.
1. Avoid taking the Subte during rush hour if possible. Millions of people actually need to be on the subway at that exact time, so if you're going shopping or sightseeing, please don't do it between 7:30 and 9:30 am or 5 and 7 pm. This rule is especially important for backpackers, families with baby carriages and other parcel carriers.
2. When waiting in line to buy a ticket or charge your Sube card, have your cash and Sube card in your hand, so you don't waste everyone-in-line-behind-you's time digging through your bag. Again, this is especially relevant during rush hour when people who are already late to work panic realizing they have no more credit.
3. When walking through subway stations, corridors and stairwells or using the escalator, make like highway traffic. Stay to the right when you are moving slowly, leaving the space on the left available for people who are moving more quickly.
4. When waiting on the platform for the train to arrive, do not sit on a bench for the duration of the waiting period and then push to the front when you hear the train coming. That is rude. When you sit on the bench you voluntarily put yourself at the back of the line for entering the train.
5. When the train arrives, do not stand directly in front of the doors. Stand parallel to the train on either side of the doors allowing all of the people to get off before you get on. The door is not on a timer. The conductor is watching, and if he sees people exiting and others waiting to get on he will not close the doors.
6. While boarding the train, keep in mind that you are surrounded by people not cows. Remember the idea of personal space and try to maintain a certain level of respect and order. This includes not shoving the people in front of you with the full weight of your body and even trying to resist such a force when it comes upon you. While you may need to be shoulder to shoulder, it is not necessary to have your body fully pressed against someone else's from head to toe. Though it may be uncomfortable resist the urge to constantly fidget as it will likely cause a ripple effect through the entire train car.
7. Quickly offer your seat to any toddler, pregnant women or elderly person. Don't make it awkward and offensive by looking around to see if someone else will first.  Additionally, do not close your eyes at stops to avoid doing this, while keeping them open when the train is moving. If you want to commit a random act of kindness, feel free to also offer your seat to people who are carrying heavy backpacks, are ill or generally look like they need to sit down.
8. Do not deface or tear down maps of the subway routes. Some novices may need to use them. 
9. Keep disruptive, annoying and disgusting behavior like phone calls and coughing to a minimum.  
10. If at any moment in the Subte experience, including in the stations or in the trains, you notice someone being pickpocketed do try to warn them. A nudge, nod of the head or suggestive "cuidado" would be greatly appreciated by the passenger about to lose their wallet, cellphone, computer, etc.
11. When exiting the train refer to number 4. If you were sitting, do not get up and push to the front to exit the train first. The people who were standing for the entire ride deserve to get off first.
12. When possible, exit the platform area through a wooden turnstyle or open emergency exit door so you don't block the way of people trying to get on. Likewise, when getting off a train try to move aside for those trying to catch it.

1 comment:

  1. 6 years and no comments. Better let people in that despicable city rot in hell.