T etiquette question: How do you get door-blocking dumbasses to move?

Move your butts, people

Andrea had occasion to ponder that question while on the Red Line this morning.

How do we get through to the challenged commuters who won’t move to let people on or off the T? They actually think they’re in the right.

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Comments

I stoop to passive aggressive...

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Wimp. Just raise your voice and say "Off please"

If that doesn't work say "put down your fu***ing phone and take off your god damn backpack" in an even louder voice.

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Loud, annoyed "Excuse me"

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Loud, annoyed "Excuse me" then shoulder on through. Follow up with death glare for duration of trip.

Extremely frustrating especially for ladies who don't want to rub their chest all over some rando's arm, but what is to be done? Honestly I suspect this is half the reason these creeps do it -- because they get off on the unwanted contact and on making the victim inflict it on herself.

And yet, we got places to be. It is a conundrum.

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You can't go wrong with a

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You can't go wrong with a good old fashioned "excuse me," but you have to say it loud enough so the person really knows it is for them. You can't be too polite or they ignore you. Mild (and I stress MILD) public shaming works wonders.

If I'm trying to get into a train and I have a crush of people behind me, I'm always willing to be the guy to actually speak up and say "step into the train please" loudly enough for the people inside to hear and therefore loudly enough to make the guy blocking the door right in front of me feel like a real ass.

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Continually escalating the

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Continually escalating the volume of your "excuse me"s can be effective. Especially in the tone of voice that makes it clear what you're actually saying is "MOVE"

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Or get specific

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Or get specific. "You! Pubestache in the Celtics jersey! EXCUSE ME!"

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F = M*V

Unfortunately, V in the case of the T is, to use a technical term, pathetic.

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Error

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Force = mass x acceleration

momentum = mass x velocity

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Haven't been in a science class

Since 2001.

I envy people who have science jobs and really enjoy them, because I found the subject matter (and sometimes the teachers) absolutely dull in school. I did biology sophomore year of high school, and literally all I remember is the word "lipid" and watching "Contact" for some reason.

90 minutes every other day, plus a 45 minute lab once a week, for nine months, and that's my takeaway. Isn't education grand?

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"Science"

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Way to mess up a three letter physics equation and then try to blame your biology teacher. Perhaps it's not the educational system that's at fault here?

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I could have cared more

But it's also on teachers to engage kids and make them care about the material. I was 16, obsessed with my radio job, and couldn't have cared less about the teachings of biology. The teacher was old, tired, and did nothing to make me think that the material was interesting or could make me lots of money as an adult.

Honestly, I spent 13 years in school, and I can't recall maybe more than two instances where a teacher told me that I should care about the subject matter on the basis that people who excel at it live in nice homes and make lots of money. I'm absolutely not accepting blame for that.

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I see Will’s point

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We started with biology freshman year. I cannot say if it was the subject or the teacher, but it was tedious. As sophomores, we had the options of chemistry, health, or a second foreign language. I took the last choice. Senior year I got around to chemistry, which was a prerequisite for physics for some reason. Then I realized that how science is structured in high school is silly.

So, I go with it being the bio teacher’s fault.

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His Point?

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It doesn't matter what happened in his biology class because that isn't a physics class. You aren't likely to learn that equation in biology, it's a different discipline.

Also, I guess if you take one biology class, you get to claim every class in the U.S. is the same. I had a boring biology class too. And then I took physics, had a different teacher, and he was awesome. Maybe at other schools, the physics teacher sucks and the bio class is fun?

Maybe schools could have taught you better Google literacy. Not hard to take 3 seconds to make sure a math equation you don't understand is correct. But it speaks a lot about your style of post. Just get a comment off quickly, don't make it thought out or factual.

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When I was in high school

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APRANET wasn’t available for the general public yet, meaning we’d be having this debate using 300 baud modems hosted by Adam’s computer. So no Google, and surprisingly I trusted what those who set up the curriculum wanted us to think.

But hey, if you have a time machine and are willing to go back to 1986 to explain this to the younger me, go for it. Stop by Will, too, while you’re using your machine.

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Um...

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...it's ARPAnet. Or was.

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Point taken

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That’s how removed I was from it when selecting classes for sophomore year.

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Waquiot's comment

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High-school science course sequence is now physics-chemistry-biology in the most up-to-date curricula, or physics-biology-chemistry in slightly older ones, but rarely biology first.

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pure, brute force

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i typically pretend i'm on the patriots defensive line and just barrel right through them. is that wrong?

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Similar

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But i hearken back to my Red Rover days. While saying "excuse me!" as cheerfully as i can.

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I don't usually like

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to go full Ultima Ratio Regum in public spaces, but yeah, when somebody does this, they're saying "while I understand the laws of humanity and public transit, I do not feel myself bound by them." Drop a shoulder and charge.

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This would work

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Oh, Boston.

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I'm amazed how many people think an etiquette issue should be resolved with assault. (Extra points to the reply on Twitter which advocated for sexual assault.)

You're probably the same people I saw yesterday beeping impatiently at a woman with a seeing eye dog, just because she was taking a few extra seconds to cross the street in Longwood. Only in Boston.

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Just the opposite....

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.....the people beeping are the same self serving douches that block the entrances.....

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I hate "the people doing X

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I hate "the people doing X are the same people doing Y" arguments.

Unless you recognize a specific person who did both, it's BS.

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Only in everywhere

Americans, everywhere, are assholes.
In cars and they are aggressive assholes.
On the T they are oblivious assholes.

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To be fair

it's especially prevalent in Massachusetts, especially Boston.

I learned long ago that we don't have bad drivers, we have selfish drivers, and that directly translates to everything from riding public transit (see above) to walking down the street.

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Yeah, the percentage of

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Yeah, the percentage of people here who don't give a single shit about someone who's not them is much higher than in other parts of the country. (and thus, the world)

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Yup.

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I think it was documented recently that Boston has the worst drivers of any city in the US.

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Again

I don't think they're actually the worst, as much as the most selfish.

Wisconsin (not even in winter) is actually the worst I've ever experienced, which was surprising.

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No surprise

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When my son took his license exam, the examiner actually chided him for "not being aggressive" and waiting for cross traffic to clear before pulling out.

Seriously. He failed because he actually drove defensively, not offensively.

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That’s messed up.

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That examiner is the one who ultimately failed.
May your son pass next time continue to be a conscientious driver.

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Not too messed up

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Yes, being an overly aggressive driver is a horrible thing, but being to cautious is arguably as bad. For example, when the kid gets to the top of a highway onramp, will he just stop because the traffic is going too fast? A driver on the test has to show competence and confidence. If the kid showed one without the other, I think it would be right for the examiner to have him do a little more student driving.

Then again, neither you or I were sitting in the car when the driving test was administered, to be fair to both of us.

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We have the worst roads!

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We have the worst roads! Hence the drivers are bad by default.

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Respond In Kind

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If a subway rider elects to stand in front of the door, not moving, they are stating clearing and unambiguously that they want to get slammed, pushed, jostled. There is no other way to interpret their behavior. I've lived in cities all over the planet. In Prague, the convention is to say, just once, 'doprava' (stand aside), and if the trog doesn't move, you push. Other cities have similar standards. This is NOT a Boston thing. This is an URBAN thing. Some trogs were never meant to leave the suburbs.

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Assault? Not quite

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Unless you lead with the shoulder to start with.

My preferred move would be to say “excuse me,” wait 2 to 3 seconds, then lead with the shoulder.

And this is different from the example you cite. There was a good reason why the woman was crossing the street. There is no good reason to stand at the door to a subway car, with shoulders parallel to the door, when the door is open and people are trying to exit and enter (and yes, this should be the order, but that’s another gripe for another day.)

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Assault

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Assault would entail shoving them out of the car as the doors closed, sending them crashing to the platform.

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Shoving them out of the car

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Shoving them out of the car is battery; assault includes the threat of bodily harm with the apparent ability to do so, so you can assault someone by cocking your fist and threatening to knock their block off, even if you don't follow through on it.

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Nah

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Like all our mothers taught us, or should've taught us, treat others how you want to be treated. A lady with a seeing eye dog and a jerk blocking the door on the train are apples to oranges. If you choose to be disrespectful and uncourteous to your fellow passengers, there's no reason for them to show you any level of respect.

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Oh, baepp

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In this case, the two door blockers are being rude by blocking people from exiting and/or entering. They are the etiquette dolts.

Try passing through the hole when either one or both has ear buds in. Yes, you also baepp, will result to, as you say, "assault", to make your way through.

Look. Saying "excuse me, coming through" in a loud voice is their first warning. If they do not move, they get a body check. Simple as that.

(And, no, I would never beep at anyone walking in a crosswalk to get them to move faster.)

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So many people bitch about

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So many people bitch about Boston....then why stay? Leave and go find shangri-la elsewhere if it so horrible here.

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One example

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You're probably the same people I saw yesterday beeping impatiently at a woman with a seeing eye dog, just because she was taking a few extra seconds to cross the street in Longwood. Only in Boston.

I've stopped a driver from honking at someone with a seeing eye dog just prior to their hand hitting the wheel. Once they realized it was not a woman out walking her pet, they were glad I stopped them. The issue in my situation was two-fold: a) the streetlights weren't very bright at this intersection and 2) The woman waiting to cross needed to feel confident that cars had stopped prior to stepping of the curb. Thankfully we were definitively stopped.

OK, enough about me. :)

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Sitting

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I was sitting next to them in the passenger seat.

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It's not an etiquette issue

I'm amazed how many people think an etiquette issue should be resolved with assault.

I know that playing "who started it?" is a fool's errand, but deliberately positioning your body so as to physically block another person's path constitutes assault. And a person of normal intelligence understands that a subway door is a passageway that people want to use, so blocking it extends well beyond the territory of "clueless" and into "deliberate"

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So you like to not get where you're going?

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I'm amazed how many people think an etiquette issue should be resolved with assault.

I'm amazed that you can ride the T and think that this is some kind of theoretical "etiquette issue". Hint: if those people don't move and you don't move 'em, and you're standing where you started as the train pulls away.

You HAVE ridden the T, right? It couldn't be that you're just being preachy?

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'scuse me, pardon me, 'scuse me...

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I politely say "Excuse me" a couple of times. Usually on the second time, they move a millimeter. If they don't do anything at all, I employ my Purse of Doom and just walk right on as if they're not even there. That usually gets a pissed-off look out of the non-movers, but at that point I feel if they couldn't bother to move after my calm and polite "Excuse me," then they deserve my huge purse in their face/back/neck/stomach. C'est la vie on the T!

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give them one "excuse me" and

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give them one "excuse me" and if they ignore you, make like a defensive lineman and bull rush the door. elbows and shoulders can be highly persuasive.

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May I step to the rear, please?

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In 11+ years of daily commutes on the Red and Green lines I noticed this was pretty common: people who insisted on crowding the doorway even when they wouldn't be getting off for several stops. I do have some sympathy for people who fear getting stuck deep inside the train, whether as an inconvenience or out of some inner phobia. On the other hand, I've also been on subways in other places where the social convention is that you gravitate toward the exit as the train approaches your stop, and that other riders should accommodate that.

I've mentioned this problem to people with the MBTA, and I don't think it had much effect, aside from being one of the issues addressed in a courtesy campaign. I ended up developing my own courtesy rule when trying to board when people are bunched up at a doorway--a problem also aggravated by design of the newer generation of LRV's. Riders seldom follow instructions from drivers to go to the rear. What I do when I'm trying to get on is say, "May I step to the rear, please?" This actually works pretty well--as long as you're not getting off for a while.

The problem here is much more than an issue of courtesy or civility. People who crowd the doors slow down the flow of passengers. That certainly was the case when I hit the jackpot while I was on the Orange Line and one of the two doors where I was trying to get off didn't open. Not only was a lugging a travel bag, but the other half of the doorway was blocked by a passenger who was oblivious to the possibility that someone heading for South Station might want to get off at Downtown Crossing.

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Start picking your nose

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Start picking your nose really deeply then tap them on the should with your booger-covered finger (make sure it's smeared all over their coat) and smile and say, "Excuse me. Thank you!!" and smile.

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Amateur Hour

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Things Boston subway riders do that aren't done elsewhere:

1. Block doors at all times
2. Attempt to get on train as people are still coming out.
3. Get up from a seat and try to plow way to door 90 seconds before train arrives in station.
4. Every other person wears a backpack during rush hour. Double points for shoving those people.

The T never addresses any of these behaviors in their etiquette campaigns. Keep your privates private, but block people with your backpack any time you'd like.

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the rage against backpacks

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the rage against backpacks makes no sense to me when people insist they should be on the floor. I've tripped over more bags on the floor than i've had blocking me from moving when they're on the back.

while we're griping about t stuff: parents who bring their kids in a stroller and then insist that their kid needs a seat. no, the stroller is their seat. your precious brat is already ruining everyone's commute enough.

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Backpacks don't have to be on

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Backpacks don't have to be on the floor. You can also hold them in front of you.

But if they're on the floor in the right place, in front of the person's feet, you wouldn't be walking there. If you did, you'd get in their face's personal space.

And rage against backpacks makes perfect sense. They make people take up more than twice as much space, and their mental sense of space doesn't include the backpack so they don't realize what they're blocking or who they're bumping into.

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i take off my back back and

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i take off my back back and reverse it so that it's on my chest like a baby carrier would be. that way it's in a space that's already space that i'm using. i've never figured out why other's don't do that. the worse damage i can do with it is if the train stops suddenly then i've probably hit someone sitting in the face with it. which probably would have happened anyways since it's stopping short.

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I do the same.

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It’s better for your back and thwarts pickpockets too. Some museums require backpacks be carried in the front if you don’t want to leave them at the coat check.

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well...

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...for GOD'S sake, at least don't block me with your privates.

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they have actually had

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they have actually had campaigns about backpacks and letting people exit first. It doesn't seem to help, maybe we need a viral video, maybe we can add it to the tide pod challenge or something.

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These things happen

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In any city that has a well used subway system. You think they don’t do these things in New York?

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Not everywhere

These things happen in any city that has a well used subway system. You think they don’t do these things in New Yorkk?

Never been to London, I take it?

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Was in London a while ago

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But I recently watched a series on trains in Britain. People push and shove other people in London from what I saw.

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Disagree with #3

I appreciate people who make their way to the doors sooner than later--especially when a train car or bus is extremely crowded. The flip-side are the people who sit until the train/bus comes to a complete stop, then nearly knock over the people standing in front of them--as happened to me yesterday-- then start pushing through a thick crowd that assumes no one is getting off. By the time they get to the doors, the doors are just about to close. I'll concede that anyone that has trouble standing or walking on a moving train/bus should be considered, but 95% of the time that's not the case--people just assume that the doors are going to stay open as long--however long--it takes for them to want to get off the train/bus.

In one case, a few weeks ago on an Outbound D Line, it happened to a group 4-5 people and then they were shouting at the train operator to reopen the doors as if it was his/her fault. The thing is, the train wasn't even that crowded at that point so really, what took so long to get to the doors?!

Go to NYC and look at the island platform express-and-local shuffle that occurs hundreds of times a day, such as as between the (4) and (6) at 42 St-Grand Central--those people are ready to go once the trains pull in and they move!

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Depending ...

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Depending upon the driver I'll wait until the train stops to stand up. Some stopping methods on the T are too herky-jerky and I'd rather not almost tip over onto my fellow riders.

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Nope

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I disagree with this. If I'm standing in front of someone holding onto a pole for dear life, and the person sitting down in front of me gets up to get off the train, I tell them "I'll move for you once the train stops." Said politely, no one has gotten pissed at me.

They get to sit down the whole time and expect me to risk falling over (I have balance issues) just so they can be the first one to the door? Nope. They have plenty of time to get to the door once the train stops. If being first to the door was so important, they could have gotten up and moved towards the door at the previous stop.

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Don't get up before train stops

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As a daily Red Line rider, I completely agree with this. Maybe it makes more sense on the Green Line to move to the door while the train's in motion, but it's extremely annoying when you're standing and holding the railing to jockey around the impatient seated person getting up before the train stops. These people are often fixed on getting to their destination immediately and have no consideration for the people standing in front of them (who I'm sure would gladly trade places with them).

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Yup

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If I'm standing in front of someone holding onto a pole for dear life, and the person sitting down in front of me gets up to get off the train, I tell them "I'll move for you once the train stops." Said politely, no one has gotten pissed at me.

In addition to being polite, they feel acknowledged. That's another reason they don't get pissed at you. I do something similar, but more of a look in the eyes and nod, letting them know I know their intentions to get off the train.

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Exactly

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I can tell they're anxious about getting off the train, and I want them to know that I see them and plan to get the hell out of the way as soon as we come to a stop. It assuages their anxiety, and I remain vertical and not splayed out on the disgusting floor. A win win.

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And then there's the NEW trend...

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of waiting until the doors are closing to get off the train. If they are so retahded that they can't pay attention to where the train is, they should have to go up an extra stop or so and go back. They brought that themselves/

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1. reasonably loud and clear

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1. reasonably loud and clear "excuse me"
2. if no response, I walk through you with my shoulder

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Only in Boston...

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Only in Boston do we take photos of behavior we don't like, get righteously angry about it on the internet, stew over it in our mind, plan out passive aggressive reactions that make our dis-empowered selves feel powerful and validated, and then ultimately....actually do nothing about it.

Here's a radical idea: just say something.

I know....not the Boston way. Stop assuming everyone has bad intentions and is purposely doing something wrong and trying to take advantage of everyone. Sometimes, a lot of the times, people are just clueless and distracted and are happy to correct their behavior with a kind, yet assertive word. You'd be surprised how effective it is.

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That's nice dear

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So very nice.

You will find that, in the real world, these self-absorbed poorly-raised twerps will ignore you. If you are female, they will just say SHUT UP FAT BITCH.

Your move.

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Not true

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The "manspreading" controversy has taken place mostly in New York through very similar social media posts. In fact, before the Gothamist's demise they regularly had stuff like this. The charge that this is a Boston phenomenon is wide of the mark.

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I've only taken a few NY trains...

Seems the backpack/getting out of the way issue is a major Green Line problem.

But NY has 1000x as many wierdos around and the NY wierdos seem more angry for some reason.

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same problem with elevators

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Really tired of people trying to push into the elevator when I'm trying to get out. The worst was when a motorized wheelchair tried to run me over, then gave me a nasty look for shouting "Stop" at them. Really people, use common sense - there will be more room for you if you let us out first.

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Some people seem to be ...

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... new to public transit. I don’t let them ruin my day. I announce loudly, “COMING THROUGH” and if they don’t move I just push gently through them.
If I’m standing near the door myself, I step off the train to the side of the door and hop back on when it’s clear again.
Being a good example to the clueless sometimes helps change their behavior and as a bonus you can pat yourself on the back for doing your virtuous good deed for the day.

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I say "excuse me" and if they

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I say "excuse me" and if they don't move I push paste them and they unfortunately usually get hit with my bags b/c I always have 1 or 2 with me.

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The key is the phone

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If that phone falls out of the hand, they'll figure it out far more quickly.

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Relax

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I truly believe in train etiquette and social awareness in general but some of the people that write these comments need to relax. I've taken the green and red lines every day for over 10 years. Being polite and treating people with respect will take you a long way and honestly will probably reduce your stress.

Although, if there is one type of person I will never understand it is the person who gets on the train/bus before everyone is off, I usually just shake my head because that's just the most simple rule to follow. I give a little more lenience to people who stand near the door. I rarely come across someone who doesn't move when you nicely say "excuse me" or just look at them with the indication you're getting off. If they don't hear/listen then I say it a little louder or just move through them. I get the people that don't want to move farther in the train because they're getting off at the next stop or they're claustrophobic but I think it's a nice rule to follow that if you're going to do this you make room for people to move into the middle of the train. If you're blocking people from moving in entirely then you should move. I honestly have never minded backpackers. If people want to keep their stuff on them then so be it. Like someone said before, I've seen more people trip on them then anything.

At the end of the day, everyone should pay just a little more attention to where they are on the train and where other people are. If you can make space, then help make space, but getting angry and violent towards others on the train is just scummy and stupid. Just shake your head at these people and keep going knowing you're a respectful and polite human who does the right thing.

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While we're on about rudeness

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Can we also complain about people who act like they are literally going to die if they don't walk right beside their friends on the sidewalk? Those who refuse to make room for others? Heaven forbid they fall back to single file for one lousy second to share the sidewalk. What is wrong with these people?

I've stopped moving for them, myself. It usually ends up in a shoulder bump, in which they act completely shocked that another person in the world exists.

It's really strange, and I've been to many big cities. The only people in other cities who seem to do this are tourists, but in Boston, it seems to be the vast majority of the population who think the sidewalk belongs to them and them only. Not in an aggressive way, just in a very clueless, narcissistic way.

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Not only that

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But they' look you in the eye when doing it, too. They're not effing around on their phones or only paying attention to the people they're walking with. They know they're not going to move - or they do at the very last second.

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But they seem surprised!

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Whenever I get in this game of chicken, these people are always shocked that we make contact. It seems like they see you and even look you in the eye, but it's like they're looking THROUGH you. Like you're invisible. It's incredibly strange.

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Red Rover City Style

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I was knocked down by a group of students walking four across who refused to make room for me on Newbury. As I approached, "They see me, they'll make room, this is really close...shit..." On my ass.

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little tip

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Look ahead straight through them, like they're not even there. Like you, I stopped getting out of the way for people. This helps avoid having to shoulder them maybe 50% of the time.

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To the people saying "but they do this in NYC too":

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Your experience is probably based on watching tourists on the subway in tourist locations, i.e. Manhattan south of 86th St. Most of the population and much of the subway network exist outside lower Manhattan. And, yes, we count people who come from anywhere that doesn't have its own subway as tourists.

New Yorkers will not tolerate any of the "MBTA-acceptable" behaviors discussed in this thread where they work, live, and go to school. I had a 2-hour-roundtrip, bus-subway-subway commute to high school (Queens to Manhattan). Even quiet, 14-year-old me wouldn't put up with people blocking the doors.

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They may not just be dumbasses.

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They could also be pickpocketers. At least that's how they roll in Rome. Do the dirty deed, then jump off at the next stop. I've witnessed it more than once.

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Didn't have this problem in Rome, but ...

... got nailed by a pickpocket in Naples (and I even sensed my standing neighbor was a pickpocket -- I protected my wallet/passport -- but he got my phone). (Subway was too crowded -- and I needed to use one hand to hang on to something -- so as to not fall over).

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Politely ask them to let you

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Politely ask them to let you pass. While yes some are rude most are just oblivious.

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