The T has introduced a new campaign to improve courtesy on its trains and buses. I applaud the sentiment, at least. On the Green Line we contend with these (top three) acts of rudeness every day:
- Refusing to Move Back. People fill the front third of the train, forcing newcomers to wedge themselves in a doorway, while leaving the rear so empty there are free seats. Don’t be afraid of the stairs (that’s climacophobia).
- Blocking Doors. Obviously someone has to stand by the door when the train is crowded, but when the door opens you need to step aside — preferably onto the street. You’ll be able to get back in.
- Playing Loud Music. Subways already produce 90 to 115 decibels (dBA) of sound, and I can hear your music from 10 meters away. Enough! I wouldn’t mind as much if I ever heard a nice Rachmaninov melody in the air, but it’s only ever rap music!
When the T last tried a courtesy campaign, they gave out free Dunkin Donuts coupons to people seen doing polite things. This time, they’ve just made a series of signs. “Don’t be a Lout. Let them out.” The font on the signs is vaguely reminiscent of Harry Potter’s title font—appropriate, since only magic can make this campaign work.
I particularly enjoy this “button” from the MBTA’s “Commuter Rail Maps and Schedules” page:
Once again paraphrasing Josh Lyman: the blinking is what really makes it art.