Washington DC Metro System: Do this, not that

There are many ways to not draw the ire of residents of Washington, DC when visiting the city. One of those ways is to not be clueless and/or obnoxious when riding the metro system.

We get it. Really, we do. You're in a new place, it's big, it's loud, it's expensive, it's exciting, and it's crowded. Public transit might be completely foreign to you, and an underground "subway" system like DC has, even more so.  It can be overwhelming! We are right there with you. However, believe it or not, there are actual, real-life people that live and work in Washington, DC and don't want to have to deal with your nonsense while they're trying to get to or from work.

Here are some of my tips for not making residents of DC want to kill you when riding on the metro.

1) Stand on the right, walk on the left.

When riding the escalators in DC, there is one rule. Stand on the right, walk on the left. Don't stand two people wide, don't stand with your suitcase alongside you, and don't stand on the left. Treat it like a street. The left side is for passing. People in DC are in a hurry. Escalators aren't there for convenience as much as they are for helping speed up people's commutes into and out of the city. If you break the rule, you might get trampled. And nobody wants to get trampled.

2) Don't wear your backpack on the train.

Sometimes, the metro is so crowded, it is all you can do to get your body to fit, squished in among the other passengers, in a tight enough space to allow the door to close behind you as it brushes your back and traps your hair in the door. Seriously. Your backpack takes up the space of another human torso, and it's probably hitting people in the face. Take it off and put it down by your feet. If you're wearing it to make extra space for yourself, you're an ass hole, and I hope your flight home gets cancelled and you are stuck in airport purgatory forever.

3) If you're in a big group, don't ride the metro at rush hour.

At least between 8:00 and 10:00am, and 4:00 and 6:00pm, try to stay off of public transit if you're in a group of five or more. As stated above, it is often difficult for one single person, traveling alone to their job in the morning, to fit their body on one of the first three trains to come through their station after they've arrived there in the morning. People just want to get to work on time. We get you want to go to the museums, the White House, or the Capitol. We do. Just know that if you, Johnny, Susie, Bob and Jane try to cram all five of you on a fully-loaded train at 8:45am, giggling and squealing, people are probably going to be extra nasty to you.

4) Don't use your stroller or suitcase as a battering ram.

There is nothing more obnoxious than getting on a packed train and seeing someone sitting in a seat with three pieces of luggage in front of them, blocking another seat and taking up standing room the size of two other people. Better yet, if you have a stroller, or you're coming from or going to the airport, just don't ride the metro at rush hour. #sorrynotsorry

5) Be aware of your surroundings.

Don't wear your headphones on the train. You might miss your stop, you might not realize that someone next to you needs to get off, or you might not realize that the train is getting full and where you are standing is super inconvenient for 10 other passengers. Don't be so focused on your iPhone that you don't realize you've arrived at the toll gate and then stand in front of it searching for your card. Step aside. Don't stop randomly in front of people to look at your map.

This all makes DC sound super-scary. It's not. People are actually, generally, friendly! Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask for directions in the metro if you aren't quite sure where you're going. I tend to always help tourists when I see them staring at a map with a puzzled look on their face. Just be aware that - especially during rush hour! - there are a few things to keep in mind that will make your stay in DC more enjoyable - for everyone. :)

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for this! So many people are clueless when it come to these types of things.

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  2. This was great! I'll remember this in case I ever make a trip to D.C.!

    Betty
    http://vodkaandimpropriety.com

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  3. You had me at don't be a turd. Loved this article!

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  4. You had me at don't be a turd. Loved this article!

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  5. You had me at don't be a turd. Loved this article!

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    1. Haha, thanks! I like writing funny stuff, I'll have to come up with more ideas. ;)

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  7. I'm from the Indy area. I noticed you're originally from Indiana so I'm sure you can relate to the immediate struggle of trying to navigate transportation in a larger city. Well, at least a city that has more than a few bus routes (which I have never taken). My favorite tip: the no backpack. My dad ALWAYS wants to wear a backpack when we go to NYC, DC, and other places with metro. I cringe when he does this because I'm always the person getting whacked with a backpack when him or someone else with one turns around!

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    1. Haha yupp! The bus routes in Indy are nothing compared to DC's system! (We are moving back to Indy in two weeks!)

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  8. I definitely think these tips are useful for any mass transit system! Good tips and thanks for sharing!

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  9. For some reason this whole article was really funny to me. Great tips too! Don't be a turd.

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  10. I love this! I am a huge fan of all kinds of etiquette. I live close to LA and sometimes want to throttle tourist. Off the subject (a little), last time we were in DC was 10 years ago. We were riding the metro and my then 4 year old daughter was sitting between my husband and I. It had been a long day, so we sat down and zoned out. When I snapped out of my reverie I realized that she was standing up running her tongue along the hand rail in front of us. I was absolutely horrified! But, you know what? That kid is NEVER sick! We joke that it was all of those good DC metro germs that built up her immune system.

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    1. Lol girrrrrl that is the grossest thing ever! LOL! I'm dying at the mental image. She must have an immune system of steel because....gross. Hahaha!

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  11. This made me laugh! It's been over 6 years since I lived in DC, but I can remember all of these so clearly. I still think "STAND ON THE RIGHT" anytime I'm on an escalator.

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    1. Sometimes I just want to punch #allthepeople

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