T to riders: A little courtesy won't kill you

Crowd waits for people to leave train

The MBTA is starting a new courtesy campaign, via placards that urge people to be a kinder, gentler ridership. Will it work?

The campaign follows the T's no groping and no littering campaigns.

General Manager Jonathan Davis - a daily MBTA user - asked the T's Marketing Department to develop a new campaign to encourage courteous and polite behavior on trains and buses.

See all five placards.




Free tagging: 


    There's nothing like trying

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    There's nothing like trying to get off the train while others are forcing their way on. I doubt this will help anything but the sarcasm is awesome.

    At least on the Orange Line....

    ... people have gotten better about allowing exiting passengers room to exit (and waiting to enter until the coast is clear). Still room for improvement, but much better than 10+ years ago.

    One I'd like to see...

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    MBTA train runs on schedule without breaking down! Passengers arrive on time for work.

    How about

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    "Green Line train actually goes all the way to North Station to accommodate riders instead of terminating at Government Center to accommodate employees."

    There is no way every train

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    There is no way every train could turn at North Station, the setup at North Station doesn't have that capacity. Granted, every line could just as easily turn at Lechmere, but that would make Science Park and Lechmere incredibly overserved. It would mean either longer gaps in schedules per line or require more trolleys (ie: money for trolleys and money for employees for not many people). Employees would probably LIKE to have all trains go all the way to Lechmere. So how about you stop talking now? Thanks.

    Also, once the extension happens, the D will run all the way to Tufts, the E to Union Sq, and the C would continue to serve North Station, meaning only the B will turn at Government Center.

    North Station has two turnback tracks

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    and can easily handle the additional trains. Plus, the platforms themselves can accommodate at least five cars (which would be two two car trains and a single)

    As for gaps in service, I'd rather see trains go all the way to North Station, even if they have to spend a little more money to do so, than be deliberately "short-turned" at Government Center only to then be held at Park Street for "schedule adjustment".

    Maintaining the "status quo" of putting the maximum people on the minimum number of vehicles, and treating the time a train is supposed to arrive back at Riverside or Cleveland Circle (or whereever) as a sacred value that must be met isn't working. It's time to think out of the box and look at how the transportation service we are paying for with our fares and taxes can really be improved, instead of this continued focus on cheap window dressing like PR campaigns, smartphone apps, and unnecessary amenities like full cellphone access in the tunnels.

    And, with respect, the "lack of money" argument doesn't cut it with me anymore. Especially when the T continues to pay top managers and marketing consultants to come up with nonsense like this new courtesy campaign, or continues to waste money on needless "impact" studies and endless "neighborhood design" meetings like they've been doing for the Somerville Extension.

    Again, we need to think out of the box and consider real measures like diverting some of the money being spent on "necessary" capital improvements like remodeling stations and fund the actual running of the trains and buses that the T's customers rely on to get from place to place.

    Yes, the Green Line is hideous

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    The Green Line is painfully slow. The B line is *scheduled* to take 48 minutes to go 6 miles. And that assumes it's on time, and doesn't include waiting for it to arrive.

    But nobody in charge seems to care. The T's upcoming construction projects are listed at http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/t_projects/ . None of them involve speeding up the Green Line.

    Imagine if the T had taken a small fraction of the billions of dollars spent on the Silver Line and Greenbush commuter rail, and instead installed traffic light priority and a well-designed fare collection system on the Green Line.

    Backwards belly?

    I'm pretty sure the woman pictured in the pregnancy headline has a pregnant back. If that's the case, I really don't want to think about where that baby will be birthed from...

    Not the best photo

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    I see what you mean, but I think it's just that her arm is turned out and *really* skinny so it looks like her elbow.


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    The angle of her elbow is awkward, but I was wondering why I was staring at some woman's butt. Didn't seem polite to me.

    I'd like to see: Passenger

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    I'd like to see:

    • Passenger refrains from clipping finger nails on train; waits till they get to the privacy of their own bathroom
    • Passenger refrains from putting personal belongings on empty seat next to them! Other passengers get to sit down as well!
    • Passenger with large rolling suitcase refuses to stand near door! Other passengers delighted to get off train!

    With the nail clipping-what

    With the nail clipping-what is the DEAL? I have seen at least a half dozen people do it on the bus and on the T, and it's gross. I have a small nail file that I keep on hand for nagging hangnails, but I can't imagine clipping my nails onto the floor of a train or bus. Disgusting.

    Sorry T but you gave up on

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    Sorry T but you gave up on the "not having loud conversations" bit when you announced cell phone service underground.

    The people who complain most

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    The people who complain most about delays on the T often seem to be the ones who cause the delays by pushing into cars before passengers exit, blocking aisles and doors, et al.

    I've long proposed that at Park St. under the passengers should board from the side platforms and exit on the central platform so that would at least make things go smoothly there.

    That's a nice idea, but...

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    ... what is your proof for that, exactly? You have friends who complain about delays and yet board improperly? Or you're assuming that people who complain about delays online are also terrible riders? Or you've seen people boarding badly, and then they loudly announce how mad they are when the T is late?

    The behavior you're talking about *can* cause delays, but the continuum that people who behave that way bitch more about T delays is a leap you made because you thought it sounded good.

    I DO bitch about the delays, but I board properly, and move to the center of the car to make way for others. And the inability of others to board properly doesn't explain why trains don't run at all for half an hour at a time, or why cars break down so frequently, or why we sit at stations for ten minutes with the door closed... perhaps waiting for the rapture.

    The T has a lot of audacity getting sarcastic with customers who pay to use a service that is badly maintained, perpetually late, and staffed by people more often than not who look like they'd rather cut you than drive you. Is the job stressful? Hell yes. But plenty of us work in high stress jobs and don't get to be rude to everyone we come in to contact with. They need to check their own attitude before they start marketing to me about mine (and no, I'm never rude to drivers. I'm a friggin' Canadian... I'd say thank you to someone who hit me with a car.)

    What 'T do you ride?

    It seems not to resemble the one I ride on. I have never, and I mean that by the strictest sense, waited half an hour for a train, and only rarely sat in an unmoving train for 10 minutes. I've been a daily user for more than 20 years, living on three different lines over that time period.

    I love the sarcasm in these adds, it is so New England, and it is so appropriate when you consider the outlandish claims made by many of the riders regarding service levels.

    The Red Line, maybe?

    Especially during the last winter, the red line had multiple extended delays and shut downs.

    I sat on an unmoving train for a full hour which made me late for an appointment after work.

    There were several threads right here on UHub at the time, with multiple testimonials from others who were stuck on trains at various times during the winter.

    Every morning

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    between 8:30 and 9:00, there is at least one Riverside train that loops at Government Center and is then held at Park Street for about ten minutes for "schedule adjustment".

    Every night between 5:15 and 5:30, one normally has to wait - usually 10 to 15 minutes - for between three and six trains signed Government Center to pass before a train for North Station or Lechmere arrives - and that assumes that train isn't so sardine packed that one can't get on it.

    Most nights between 4:00 and 7:00 pm, trains signed North Station are routinely taken out of service ("short-turned") at Government Center because management is more concerned with massaging the on time performance numbers than by properly serving their riders.

    These practices hardly qualify as providing "frequent and reliable" service to the T's patrons.

    And all of the above is unnecessary. The T presently has approximately 40 Green Line cars sitting idle that could easily be put into service. Which would help alleviate the overcrowding, with is the root cause of most of the bad behaviors the T has targeted with these ads.

    Oh wait, but that would mean you'd need people to run the trains. Better to waste millions of dollars on making stations look fancy than to spend one cent on an operator to run extra trains. And paying marketing people to develop this new "public service" campaign, although less expensive than remodeling stations, is just another example of this thinking.

    We take the "rapid" out of "rapid transit."

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    Here's a few more.

    Inbound Heath Street cars that stand by for "schedule adjustment" at Brigham Circle for 5-10 minutes. Rarely with an announcement from the train crew informing passengers of the delay. All while 39 buses rush by

    Every rush hour at least 3-4 outbound Boston College trains runs express to the end of the line from Washington Street.

    A trip down Beacon Street takes 6 minutes longer than it did 6 years ago.

    Four stops eliminated along Commonwealth Ave in 2004 only to install stop signs near two of them (Fordham Road, Mount Hood Road). May as well open the doors at that point.

    Replacing all of the track on the Arborway Line in 1982 only to suspend service temporarily forever in 1985. Straight Criminal.

    Burning an entire fleet of subway cars to ensure the removal of the Washington Street Elevated.

    A proper transit system would have fill in trains and operators standing by on the line ready to make schedule adjustment (without inconveniencing others) if needed. This was a very common street railway practice in the first half of the 20th century.

    With the T as a whole, but especially the Green Line, it boils down to lack of investment and incompetence. Take one look at 3670 or 3699 and it is bloody apparent why the Green Line fails. These vehicles are an utter disgrace. Combine the decaying infrastructure with the absolutely asinine payment and boarding procedures and its really a miracle it works at all.

    Boston used to be such a leader in the field of rapid transit. Its a shame what decades of neglect have done to our system.

    RATP was hit by a limited strike and was still better than the T

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    There were limited strikes on the RATP in Paris over the past few days.

    It was still more reliable and got me to where I was going many times faster than the T does on a normal weekday.

    Non-snarkily, what does that tell us about the transit system in our "world class city"?

    I won't even get started on the <2 hour ride on the TGV to cover 200 miles between Paris and Dijon - and that was with a construction slowdown on the way.

    From yesterday: "MAN WEARING

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    From yesterday:



    I never pissed myself on the

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    I never pissed myself on the T.

    However we sure had shenanigans when we were kids.
    I remember riding an almost empty RedLine car from Fields Corner to downtown to see a concert.
    Ny buddy and i cracked a couple beers when we got going.
    The conductor came on the loudspeaker:
    (Older black gentleman's voice.)

    "No drinking on the train. Please no drinking on the train. This is not the club car. No drinking on the train."

    We must have finished our beers b/c I doubt we would have just stopped drinking them. Then we lit up a joint. (We were probably going to a reggae show.)

    Conductor comes on again:
    "No smoking on the train. Pleas no smoking on the train. No reefer smoking on the train No smoking reefer on the train."

    We put it out, cracking up, and exchanged pleasantries with the conductor when we got off.
    Different times.

    You don't need an UppaBaby.

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    I work at a local Boston area baby gear store. I can't tell you how often I urge people looking to buy strollers that they DO NOT NEED a large, safari-expedition approved buggy to get around Boston for a day with a child. If you're planning on using public transportation EVEN ONCE, get yourself a smaller lightweight stroller and not only will you be happier but everyone around you won't be pissed off that your 20 month old occupies the space of 6 people.

    What about there Bus Drivers that are rude as hell

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    What about there bus drivers that are rude as hell, i had one call me and a few other people f***ing faggots. I am sorry but I am openly gay and I take offense to this, I am also disabled and I was kicked out of a disabled seat and forced to stand so that the driver could fold the wheel seats to make room for a baby stroller. How far is this to a person that is disabled?

    courtesy campaign

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    How about all the enourmous sized luggage on the SL1 route, which delays the boarding process and wastes an unbelievable amount of fuel. I'm proposing an additional fee/tariff to compensate for the loss. This is nothing controversial because the airlines implement this practice to generate revenue!

    Wait, really?

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    I'm guessing those people are headed to the airport, which is why that section of the Silver Line was built in the first place, right?

    If you're not going to Logan you're probably heading to the courthouse or World Trade Center. So if you're really sick of dealing with people's luggage, just suck it up and make the fucking 10 minute walk from South Station. Or continue to fantasize about a public transportation system that caters to your needs alone.

    Staged boarding

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    I'm pretty sure that's exactly why the SL1 boards the airport traffic first, and then drives down a bit further and picks up the stragglers. That way the airport-bound passengers are further into the bus and have their luggage arranged whenever the small handful of folks bound for WTC/Courthouse/SL Way get on, and said folks don't have to push their way back out whenever they get off.

    or better yet...

    .....don't get on the SL1 at all. Get on the SL2 or the (only during rush hour) "Sliver Line Way" abbreviated route.

    Must be a Massport architect

    Ever notice how there is simply no room for people carrying or towing luggage to pass each other at the Airport Shuttle platform at the Airport blue line station?

    Not like people towing or carrying luggage would actually want to use that facility, no. Make it as narrow as possible and have no room for people with luggage to wait, either.

    He must be amongst those at Massport and the MBTA who fundamentally forget what most people use airports for.

    Don't get me started...

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    Yeah, that whole station is not designed for people with luggage, except for having both up and down escalators. Every entry/exit gate there should be the wide wheelchair-accessible kind, instead of having just ONE. And they couldn't have installed automatically opening and closing doors to the station? Really? A case of over-reliance on standard station design when clearly some modifications were needed.

    Luggage racks

    Some of the SL buses have luggage racks. Though I've been on trips to the airport on buses that don't. It gets very crowded as people try to find places for the luggage. Doesn't the T have enough of rack-equipped vehicles fir airport-only use?


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    If this really happened, you should contact the MCAD in Boston and GLAD. Everyone has a right to be free from harassment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and disability in a place of public accommodation in Massachusetts, and the bus is a place of public accommodation. Call them today.


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    Flixed, thlanks!

    Helluva nerve

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    The T has a helluva nerve asking patrons to be courteous when a number of the train operators on the Orange line sound semi-hysterical in the morning telling passengers to move away from the platform, or, and this is my favorite, "if you can't get on the train there is one directly behind this one", which is usually a lie. The sound of their agitated shouting gives an unpleasant start to the day and strikes one that they would not remain calm if an actual emergency occurred.

    It's the conductors yelling

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    "Watch the doors! Watch the doors!" that always gets to me. "Why? Do they do tricks?"

    MBTA Clown Cars

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    Although there are a staggering number of people (especially on the B line) who attempt to cram themselves into a packed train regardless of whether or not they'll actually fit. I hate it when you're on one of those trains, and you see the doors open and close like 6 times at each stop because they're snagging on some kids backpack and he's not even noticing. To THOSE people who cause such delays, watch the doors indeed.

    In that case, you can yell

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    In that case, you can yell all you want, the kid isn't going to hear you over the din of his headphones. But don't worry, he's getting off at the next stop anyway.

    At rush hour the Orange Line

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    At rush hour the Orange Line is running on 8 minute headways or so. So yes, there is another train directly behind that one. Maybe if they didn't have to tell them all to step the hell back at every single stop, they wouldn't get so frazzled. Best way to make the employees courteous? Teach the users how to be courteous and stop aggravating the crap out of employees and other users who actually have some common sense.

    It is the user's

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    It is the user's responsibility to make the employees courteous? Doesn't work. I buy my monthly pass from the same T worker at Downtown Crossing every month. Always say "Thank You", she never replies. In any case, courtesy should be part of the employee's attitude, not taught to them.

    I get on at Oak Grove. When the train has been delayed and rolls in to Wellington, and the operator says there is a train right behind, it is untrue, when there is no other train waiting at Oak Grove. It is a tired line, and no one believes it.

    What a waste of money the T could put to a better purpose.

    The Orange Line is *supposed*

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    The Orange Line is *supposed* to run on 5 minute headways at rush hour. Which is a big part of the problem. If trains ran more frequently, station stops would be much quicker since fewer people would get on and off.

    But the state-of-the-art signal system it took them 30 years to finish can't support more frequent trains, even though the previous system could.

    In Moscow, passengers complain when they have to wait 5 minutes for a train late at night.

    Agreed, I can't stand the

    Agreed, I can't stand the incessant do this, watch that, elevator this, especially at park street. That guy in the little booth just vomits that stuff unendingly. Some days the whole system feels like "My first subway ride", where both the operators and the passengers just rolled off the hay truck into the big city.

    No, it's totally true!

    The trains all run on a track. Therefore, there is always a train directly behind this one. They don't say how FAR behind...

    (Somewhere on Youtube there's a video where an operator pats himself on the back for saying "there's a train directly behind this one", because he knows it makes passengers feel better.)

    Too cutesy

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    how about instead get right to the point that everyone will understand:

    Hey assholes, yeah that means you reading this, if you do

    • this

    you will make everyone else commute from the jobs they hate to the homes or bars they love more tolerable.

    Too blunt? =)

    More evidence ...

    ... that massholes are massholes everywhere they go.

    Cyclists are massholes because they are massholes
    Drivers are also massholes, pedestrians are massholes, and T users are massholes.

    They all come from the same selfish "rules do not apply to me" masshole culture and masshole population.

    The problem isn't any one group - its massholishness in general.

    The question is ... how do we fight the real enemy?

    I think people are really

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    I think people are really pretty good about standing aside to let others off the train in Boston. Anyone who doesn't should be reminded by other passengers that we don't behave that way here.

    I had an exchange a few weeks

    I had an exchange a few weeks ago getting out at downtown crossing. A flat-topped idiot trying to force his way on as everybody was getting out. I said "You could wait till we get out" and the dill-hole replied "Welcome to boston." This encounter pretty much sums up massholes.


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    Getting off the Orange at Downtown Crossing the other day. I stood my ground as thy tried to pour in, waited until I saw that the people who came in the other doors had gotten all available seats, then squeezed between the two boarding behemoths to make my connection.

    For some reason...

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    For some reason the Downtown Crossing stop seems to be the major offender of people rushing onto the train before people have a chance to get off. I'm not sure why. Of course it happens at other stations too, but it seems to be the rule at Downtown Crossing. Strange.


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    As someone who embarks and disembarks there often, the problem seems to be, at least w/r/t the Red Line, that DTX is a MAJOR crossover point where a lot of people have to get off and walk to the other line, and it has really narrow platforms. Hence, a lot of traffic jammery.

    The question is ... how do we

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    The question is ... how do we fight the real enemy?

    I totally have a plan for invading connecticut and selling its inhabitants into bondage.

    how about *passenger refrains

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    how about

    *passenger refrains from blasting (which though irrelevant is mostly repulsive)music at intolerable decibels from handheld device

    this seriously irks me.

    Name That Tune

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    It helps if you know the song and can sing along...loudly.

    Others let standees out when

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    Others let standees out when the doors open instead of trapping them inside after they were considerate enough to move away from the doors.

    type of ad critical

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    I wonder who the T uses for marketing purposes for these PSA-type ads. Social pressure, social group terminology has been shown to have a positive outcome. Where these ads may provide humor on an otherwise humorless commute, I question the impact, if any, it will have on behavior.

    I read an example of a state park that had No Littering signs at its entrance and some other reminder signs peppered throughout. When they took down the signs, before installing new ones, they discovered that people were more compliant WITHOUT any signs instructing them on behavior than with them. and when they installed new signs that employed social pressure, that were essentially along the lines of "this is what everyone does".."the community", "your neighbors", the compliance was even higher.

    btw, about Massholes, please don't broad stroke everyone the same.
    and I guess you don't ride the bus where I do? I grew up thanking drivers and people still do today. A colleague of mine from the New Mexico was SHOCKED to discover this--"in a city?!?!?!" she exclaimed.

    One difference is that as a kid I would be AWARE of elderly, infirmed, pregnant individuals and offer my seat. and I NEVER sat in disabled seating--EVER.

    The high school kids who take my local, if the bus is empty, they sit their arses in disabled seating FIRST. Quite different. Disabled people shouldn't have to ask to sit. There are plenty of ppl with invisible disabilities, who don't necessarily have the cognitive function, ability to speak or speak without struggle, or who run so close to empty it's not worth the extra effort it takes them.

    Mostly, my bus rides are fine. It's navigating Harvard Square and the college students, tourists and blow-ins -- and yes, the "massholes" that are out there --that's what's challenging.

    I would like to see cities embrace courtesy campaigns.
    when I was a kid everyone kept right on the sidewalk as a matter of course. y'know, "keeping right", what people (most of them) do while driving? It made for a far more pleasant, less-confused, hectic environment. and you know what? when people came from other countries, they observed this local custom and adopted it.

    Every day I feel like a ball in a pinball machine. I have balance issues and attempting to get myself out of the way of two people bearing down on either side of me--or coming straight at me--sends me to the concrete. Mostly, I just stop dead-still and let them hit me. No other choice.

    Slow the hell down, people. Be aware of your surroundings and be courteous. Sadly, college-aged and younger weren't raised that way within our society,and ad campaigns are necessary.

    Since so many people look down at their hand-held devices, perhaps having stenciled "ads" in bright neon on sidewalks might be the way to go. I doubt Cambridge would want to sully the lovely brick in Harvard Square but that is one of the areas where such a campaign is needed most.

    "Since so many people look

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    "Since so many people look down at their hand-held devices..." Indeed.

    There's one courtesy suggestion I'd really like to see - and that's for people to NOT check/read their smartphones while exiting the train, or (particularly) reading their devices while using the stairs leading to the T platforms (or to the station exits). What such people don't tend realize is that they walk m-u-c-h s-l-o-w-e-r while occupied with reading their device, which means that the line of people behind them is then made to slow down. It's a real pain in the ass to have to slow to a crawl in trying to get up or down the stairs because some idiot in front of me is too concerned with catching up on his/her emails or IM's. Can't they f-ing wait until they get out of the station, or onto the platform?