GUEST BLOGGER: May Challenge - P is for Public Transportation Rules

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Meet Donavan Thomas!!!

Hi! I’m Donavan. Nice to meet you, reader of Take Your Pic! I too follow this blog closely, so I feel like we’re already kindred spirits.

I’m so glad that Amanda has taken on this challenge again in 2014. Not only do I love reading the guest posts, but it’s giving me a chance to write a post I’ve been thinking about for years. Did I mention I blog at A Marathon Runner’s Wife? Anyway, this is the perfect chance, so thanks for inviting me Amanda!

I live right outside of Washington, D.C. In the nearly five years I’ve lived here, I’ve learned to appreciate a lot of things about this area – there’s never a shortage of things to do, happy hours to attend or places to explore. But do you know what all of those things bring? PEOPLE. And with them come their SUVs, their tour buses and their hybrids. Depending on who you ask, you’ll learn that D.C. traffic is the worst (or one of the worst) in the nation. You think your evening commute is bad? One day, it took me 6 hours to get home – a trip of all of 14 miles.

Given all of that, it took me about 2 weeks to appreciate the beauty of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, or Metro. I haven’t always been able to, but for most of my 5 years in D.C. I’ve taken Metro to work. I also take it out on the weekends for dinner and drinks with friends, to tons of sporting events and other activities and even to the airport or the train station. My husband and I live directly across the street from a station – in fact, that was our number one criteria when we bought our home.

It’s safe to say that public transit has become a huge part of my life. And it’s not just subway trains that get me around – I’ve taken plenty of buses and regional rail trips in my life, too. But with all of the love I have for public transportation, there are also things about it that infuriate me. And the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve realized that there are just a few rules that, if everyone followed them, public transit would be a much better place.

1. Give up your personal space – This is an actual photo (to the right) of the station where I get off for work each day – imagine all of those people pushing on to a train. Every inch of space can be used, so when someone is standing in a way that doesn’t allow for others to occupy space, it’s incredibly painful. Give up your bubble – you’ve decided to allow the germs of public transportation to reach you, so you can move a bit closer to the rest of us.
2. Don’t stop at the top or bottom of an escalator – Escalators are a crucial part of most transit stations. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people are getting on or off of one and just stop as soon as they get off. With a hundred people coming behind you, that can be really dangerous for all involved.
3. Obey the posted rules – Don’t eat. Don’t drink. Don’t play music. Don’t bring your pet. Stand out of the way of the doors. All of these are rules for a reason. Truth be told, I ate on the metro once. And I still feel bad about it … so take my advice and don’t do it.
4. Give up your seat to people who need it – This is just common courtesy. Pregnant women, elderly people, children and persons with disabilities should never have to stand unless they want to.
5. Have an open mind – People who refuse to take Metro in D.C. because they think it’s dirty/don’t understand it/think if makes them look like they’re slumming it/can’t figure out the schedules are just closed-minded, in my opinion. Public transportation might not be glamorous, but it can be easy and fun. And in D.C., it’s rarely dirty!

See, I promised there were just a few rules. It’s really not hard to take public transportation, and once you start doing it, you can do it almost anywhere. Since I’ve lived in D.C., I’ve successfully navigated subway systems in London, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia with ease. Hopefully, if you’re reading this and have never taken public transit, you might be considering it. It does benefit the environment, is often less expensive than driving and – at least in D.C. – it usually saves you a bunch of time.

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