Dear worker bees,
As you know, during winter, I have no choice but to take the commute to work. Every day, I walk to le 1000 de la gauchetière building, step inside and start what I like to call: the rat race. Why do I call it the rat race you ask? Because we are all creatures of habit who take the same ride to work every morning. I know my trajectory by heart, like a little hamster in a maze. I know the speed at which I have to take the stairs once I walk down into the metro, the moment when I have to start fetching my Opus card in my purse to have it ready at the exact moment I will need to scan it. I know which metro wagon to choose so that I will exit at Lionel-Groulx at the spot that will allow me to be the first to race up the escalator before everyone gets there, and when I do get on the top floor, I head towards the exact same place so that once again, I am first in and first out at the next station, Atwater, where I simply MUST be first to race up the stairs because of the herd of Dawson students that get off at that station as well. That being said, we commuters know very well the obstacles we face when we enter the rat race every morning and most of them are unfortunately too annoying, not to say selfish and intolerable human conduct in public areas.
I recently found a brilliant Montreal bus etiquette article:
10 Montreal Metro & Bus Etiquette Guidelines by Michael D'Alimonte. This is what inspired me to write my own version of things that I moan about internally every single time I start the rat race.
1. Be prepared or step aside, please
Indeed, because at the speed I am going at and arriving at the scanner and being stalled by someone who is looking for his or her pass resulting in me missing the metro is highly frustrating. Please step aside and let the professional commuters pass. Next time, have your pass or ticket ready please, like most of us do.
2. Respect the fast and slow lane in the escalators
Now we ALL know this. The fast and slow lanes don't just exist on highways, they are very much present in the escalators all over the city. The unwritten rule is: left side for speed and right side for chilling. This applies to ALL ESCALATORS in the province. Still, every morning, there are some that don't quite understand the concept and once again, forces the racers to slow down, thereby resulting in a possible missed metro ride.
In addition to this rule, once you step off the escalator, keep going, don't just halt. It's a point of exit that has commuters circulating continuously. It cannot be blocked for even one second. I see this happening all the time too at revolving doors; which revolve with people inside, that need to get outside. You have to follow the beat of it or you will get rammed into if you stop too close in front of them and once again, start a domino effect.
3. Respect the line-up arrows on the floor
There you have it, another proof that clear and easy to read instructions still fail for some. If you would like to enter the metro wagon, guess what? Some people need to get out first. Same goes with elevators. Yet, even when there are arrows on the floor telling you, logically, where to stand, it is not enough. To add to this, when those who do respect the rules are first in line, there are still some that will stand right in the middle, blocking all those who need to exit and ignoring the perfectly lined up passengers waiting to enter so that they enter first, leaving the poor respectful civilians stranded and waiting for the next metro. Argh!
4. Don't be a metro door guardian
Those who take the metro know that there are seats and spots that are more pleasant than others. The one I a referring to is the space to stand right next to the doors. They are quite convenient as you can stay close to the door and be the first to exit. However, if the metro is quite full, you MUST give up the privilege of this spot and let others enter. Obviously, if the wagon is semi-empty, this causes no issues. Yet, in rush hours when everyone is eager to get to work or catch their train, some still refuse to cooperate and hang on dearly to the handles, demonstrating their unwillingness to move. Individuals I like to call "door guardians" since that's what they look like when they do that. Great, thanks a lot, now I have to squish through you AND all the passengers to get inside.
5. Please, please...don't read a book and walk
Really? I mean….really? I don't even know if these individuals actually get any reading done, but it seems that walking in the halls of the metro stations in a crowd of fast paced commuters while having your eyes plastered in the pages of a book would be a little counter productive, for both parties. I personally don't believe in walking and reading what with all the shaking and also, this is not fair to the people trying to circulate around them as these books worms tend to walk slowly not to loose their line and sometimes even zig-zag instead of walking straight since they don't really look at where they are stepping foot. I look at them, shake my head and increase the volume of my music.
6. Don't act tough, hang on to something
Think you're too good to need the rail to hang on to? As D'Almonti mentions "think you can just rock a power-stance"? sure, until the metro stops and you awekwardly try not to fall while everyone looks at you or worse, you fall on top of someone. You are surrounded by bars and seats to hold on to, just do it. Spare us the whole "solid parted leg pose", grab the rail and hang on.
Also, if you do hang on, don't lean your ENTIRE body on the rail which, surprise surprise, disables others to grab on because your back or entire arm is blocking the way. This is quite the individualistic behaviour and it blows my mind.
7. Be slim when squeezing in
We've all done it, the doors are about to close and you can tell there's one more spot left right in front of you if you just squeezed in right away. It's quite the adrenaline rush to be honest. You need to think fast and know how to position yourself to fit properly without knocking people over. There are experts, who know when to draw the line and wait for the next metro and then there are others who desperately try to squeeze in at all costs. If you're going to do it, you do it well. The idea is to be as slim as possible to make a discrete and quick entrance. This means you have to remove your backpack from your shoulders or to make sure that your purse is in front of you so that those you don't hit people when you squeeze in. Be careful not to block the doors from closing either, you need to have good posture for that. If you cant handle it, don't do it. As simple as that.
Respect those rules and you are significantly increasing the efficiency of the commute and the psychological well being of all Montrealers. Until then, keep up the pace and see you in the rat race ;)
My name is Ivana. I love photography and meeting people. I hold a Master's in counselling psychology and work as a career consultant. Music is my fuel and an important source of energy in my life. I drive my vespa around the city and I love what I do! :) About this blog: me on my artistic soap box!
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