Transit Etiquette (Ride with Respect)

Be Kind, Be Courteous


This post was originally going to be a part of my overall Transit 101 series. However, I thought it would be best to make it a completely separate post so that I can emphasize how important it is to not only have a peaceful bus or train ride, but to also ensure that others on board have that same level of peace as well.


The basics

My fictional character Nick is a police officer. He boards transit buses & trains often to help make sure that things are as peaceful & orderly as possible. Nick knows what he should & should not do while using public transit & does his best to make sure that the rules of the road & rail are enforced at all times. Keep in mind though, just because there may not be an authority figure like a police officer on board your transit vehicle – doesn’t mean you can go about making your transit ride miserable for yourself & others.

While some transit agencies may have specific rules & regulations regarding fare collection, pets & bicycles on transit vehicles, & other matters, the following is a relatively universal list of do’s & don’ts while using public transit.

Do’s

Don’ts

  • Have your fare media ready for immediate use & inspection before boarding a transit vehicle or entering a station turnstile. If you are qualified to pay reduced fares, please have appropriate accompanying ID ready as well.
  • Dress appropriately. While this doesn’t necessarily mean dress up in your Sunday’s best each time you use transit, please be thoughtful in what you wear because you are in a public place. Virtually all transit agencies require you to wear a shirt, appropriate bottoms, & shoes at all times.
  • Remain seated at all times. If standing due to capacity issues, please do not stand in prohibited areas of the transit vehicle – which are clearly marked.
  • If bringing a folding cart, please make sure that the cart is folded & not blocking aisles.
  • You are welcome to listen to music or otherwise use your portable media device or smartphone while on board transit vehicles. However, you are asked to use headphones when playing any sort of media.
  • If taking a cell phone call while on board, please keep conversations as quiet as possible & to a minimum.
  • Always dispose of trash & recyclables into their respective receptacles.
  • Do not talk to the transit operator while he or she is driving the transit vehicle.
  • Do not eat or drink while on board the transit vehicle (note that bottled water & baby formula are typically considered exceptions – assuming that the container can be easily sealed closed.
  • Do not bring alcoholic beverages on board the transit vehicle – these are strictly prohibited in most jurisdictions.
  • Do not smoke while on board the transit vehicle (this includes electronic cigarettes & the like – transit agencies are taking notice & are banning such devices accordingly)
  • Do not bring other unsafe electronic/mobility devices on board the transit vehicle (things like hoverboards & motorized gas bikes).
  • Do not bring flammable or otherwise hazardous chemicals & such on board the transit vehicle.
  • Do not lean against, hold open, or block exit doors.
  • Do not travel in between moving train cars – unless a provision exists to do so – such as articulated gangways.
  • Do not solicit products or services while on board the transit vehicle. Many transit agencies prohibit solicitation while on board a transit vehicle or at a transit facility.

Some additional don’ts…

  • Do not commit any act of violence against anyone on board the transit vehicle – including transit employees.
  • Do not commit any act of vandalism to a transit vehicle or other piece of transit agency property.
  • Do not engage in any other disruptive, aggressive, disturbing, or otherwise discourteous behavior towards others – including transit employees.
  • Do not litter – especially at rail stations, where trash can easily fall onto the tracks & result in track fires.
  • Roller skating, roller, blading, and skate boarding are not allowed.

Bus specifics

Below are some additional, but specific things to keep in mind while on board a transit bus.

If standing while inside the bus, your feet should not be in front of the yellow safety line, as depicted here.
  • Yellow Safety Line
    • When the bus becomes standing room only, it’s important not to step forward of the yellow safety line that is located just behind the operator’s seat. This is so you’re not encroaching upon the operator’s field of vision – especially if he or she needs to look towards the right for any reason. Additionally, you risk violating the operator’s personal space if you do. Also, you don’t want to be in the way of the wheelchair ramp if it needs to be activated.
  • Windows
    • Some buses have opening windows in the passenger area. Unless instructed by the operator, you should not open the windows.
  • Wheelchair boarding
    • When boarding the bus, if at all possible, allow the customer using the mobility device to board first. Or, if that individual is boarding after the fact, board and remain clear of the “Priority Seating” area towards the front of the bus so that the individual can board & be secured. When exiting, please use the rear door if one is present, or allow the individual using the mobility device to exit first.
    • Never inhibit the operator’s duties to ensure that the mobility device is properly secured!!!
Credit: Palm Tran.

Rail Specifics

Below are some additional, but specific things to keep in mind while on board a passenger rail train.

  • Yellow Safety Line
    • While I’ve discussed the subject of the yellow safety line on board the transit bus, it takes on a slightly different context when relating to passenger rail networks. Here, the safety line is to indicate the edge of the elevated platform so that you don’t accidentally fall onto the tracks. While many systems indicate the platform edge via a yellow line, some may indicate this via a blue, orange, or red line. In order to comply with accessibility laws, these platform edge markers are often comprised of ribbed surfaces so that those with visual impairments can be alerted.
  • Emergency Brakes
    • Too often, I hear of situations where a passenger rail train – especially a subway train – being stopped suddenly because someone has pulled the emergency brake handles. This is not only heavily inconvenient for those on board the train, but it’s also a major safety implication for the entire rail network because transit agency staff have to reset all of the necessary mechanisms to get the train moving again, which also in-turn, leads to system-wide delays. Thus, pulling the emergency brakes should only be done in an actual emergency.
  • Dangers of walking between trains
    • Another thing I hear of too often, especially in the realm of the subways, is people traveling in between railcars. Unless a provision exists – such as an interconnecting gangway that allows for safe passage between train cars, you should never try to travel between train cars unless instructed to by transit agency staff. Doing so can lead to serious injury or even death if you wind up getting thrown off the train.

Other things to keep in mind

  • Priority Seating
    • The seats closest to the operator on board buses & select areas on board (subway/metro & commuter rail) trains are often marked as “Priority Seating”, meaning that you should always offer these seats to those who need them – including the elderly, persons with disabilities, & expectant mothers. But also, these are the areas that are often designated for those who use mobility devices – such as wheelchairs. If a customer boards using a mobility device, you will need to immediately vacate your seat & allow space for the customer’s mobility device to be secured.
  • Pets on Transit
    • Some transit agencies allow small pets to travel on board vehicles, but only if they are in a carrier & is not blocking any aisles. Please check with your respective transit agency for details.
  • Allow arriving customers to exit the vehicle first before boarding
    • As a courtesy, you should always allow arriving customers to exit the bus or train first before boarding.
  • Treating the transit operator with respect
    • Whether you’re riding a bus or a train, it’s important to treat the operator & other transit agency staff members with the utmost respect. They have a very tough job to do & the pay & benefits may not be as good as you may think they are, so please…be kind, courteous, & respectful to them.

With all of the above said, please have a safe & wonderful transit journey!


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The Back To School 2019 Post

Always be aware of the school buses!


It’s time for students to return to school – & the school buses to hit the roads once again.

Well folks! It’s that time again! Time for many people to head back to school! & whether you’re a college student attending one of the local colleges or universities, or a parent trying to get some last minute school supply shopping done for your children, it is always important to know that with the school year starting back up, you can expect increased traffic on the roads. & yes, that includes those big yellow school buses!

In this Back to School Edition blog post, I will be highlighting the importance of school bus safety, because often times, we see accidents that involve a school bus. All 50 states in the US have laws that revolve around school buses, specifically laws that make it illegal to pass a school bus when it is stopped (and its red lights are flashing & signs are extended out). Sadly, there are too many incidents by which vehicles pass a stopped school bus as it is loading or unloading passengers, and some of those incidents have involved fatalities or serious injury.

Quick note, it delights me to announce that Shawn B.’s School Bus Driver site is back up & running! So please check it out, including – & especially, the page dedicated to informing you & I about when you are required to stop when the school bus is stopped (in the manner by which I mentioned a moment ago). He also has a couple of videos posted that clearly depict the dangers presented when other motorists fail to stop for the stopped school bus.

Below, is a classic example of motorists not doing what they’re required to do. FOX 13 (WTVT) reported on this matter, along with several other local media outlets, in Port Richey, FL in 2018. Things got so bad along this portion of US Hwy 19 (which is already a massively busy highway to begin with) that the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has to step in & hand out citations to the violators.

As always, I wish everyone that is headed back to the classroom a safe and wonderful school year!


Please be sure to bookmark my website: globaltransitguidebook.com | Contact Me.

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Legalese | Disclosures

The Back To School 2018 Post

It’s time for students to return to school – and the school buses to hit the roads once again.

Well folks! It’s that time again! Time for many people to head back to school! And whether you’re a college student attending one of the local colleges or universities, or a parent trying to get some last minute school supply shopping done for your children, it is always important to know that with the school year starting back up, you can expect increased traffic on the roads. And yes, that includes those big yellow school buses!

In this Back to School Edition blog post, I will be highlighting the importance of school bus safety, because often times, we see accidents that involve a school bus. All 50 states the US have laws that revolve around school buses, specifically laws that make it illegal to pass a school bus when it is stopped (and its lights are flashing and signs are extended out). Sadly, there are too many incidents by which vehicles pass a stopped school bus as it is loading or unloading passengers, and some of those incidents have involved fatalities or serious injury.

In the past, I’ve been able to provide a link to Shawn’s “School Bus Driver” website, which had a page dedicated to this matter in particular. However, he has closed the website as of a couple of years ago. In place of that link, I am going to share a diagram that has been seen on various sites across the web. The diagram clearly shows when vehicles must stop for a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading students.

passingbuses

With that said, I wish everyone that is headed back to the classroom a safe and wonderful school year!


Please be sure to bookmark my website: globaltransitguidebook.com | Contact Me.

You can also find me on Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube

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Transit Agency Service Status Post-Hurricane Irma

Updated on 9/18/17 at 6:15AM – THIS IS THE LAST UPDATE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!!!

Please check the Florida Public Transportation Association website to find your area’s respective transit agency website.

Please be advised that due to the severe damage in the Florida Keys, Key West Transit will not be operating for the foreseeable future.


Service Status as of 9/18/17

Any transit agency that has not yet resumed full normal service is listed below.

  • Citrus Connection Polk County: Limited service will operate. View listing of operating routes.
  • Palm Tran: All services have been restored to normal operation, except Route 94, which will resume on a later announced date.
  • Miami-Dade Transit: All services have been restored to normal operation, except the following:
  • SunRail: Limited Trips – Please check the SunRail website.

Please be sure to bookmark my website: hartride2012tampa.wordpress.com | Contact Me.

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The Back To School 2017 Post

It’s time for students to return to school – and the school buses to hit the roads once again.

Well folks! It’s that time again! Time for many people to head back to school! And whether you’re a college student attending one of the local colleges or universities, or a parent trying to get some last minute school supply shopping done for your children, it is always important to know that with the school year starting back up, you can expect increased traffic on the roads. And yes, that includes those big yellow school buses!

In this Back to School Edition blog post, I will be highlighting the importance of school bus safety, because often times, we see accidents that involve a school bus. All 50 states the US have laws that revolve around school buses, specifically laws that make it illegal to pass a school bus when it is stopped (and its lights are flashing and signs are extended out). Sadly, there are too many incidents by which vehicles pass a stopped school bus as it is loading or unloading passengers, and some of those incidents have involved fatalities or serious injury.

In the past, I’ve been able to provide a link to Shawn’s “School Bus Driver” website, which had a page dedicated to this matter in particular. However, he has closed the website as of a few months ago. In place of that link, I am going to share a diagram that has been seen on various sites across the web. The diagram clearly shows when vehicles must stop for a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading students.

passingbuses

With that said, I wish everyone that is headed back to the classroom a safe and wonderful school year!

The Back To School 2016 Post

13340854_1242186942459529_231546219_o(1)

It’s time for students to return to school – and the school buses to hit the roads once again.

Well folks! It’s that time again! Time for many people to head back to school! And whether you’re a college student attending one of the local colleges or universities, or a parent trying to get some last minute school supply shopping done for your children, it is always important to know that with the school year starting back up, you can expect increased traffic on the roads. And yes, that includes those big yellow school buses!

In this Back to School Edition blog post, I will be highlighting the importance of school bus safety, because often times, we see accidents that involve a school bus. All 50 states the US have laws that revolve around school buses, specifically laws that make it illegal to pass a school bus when it is stopped (and its lights are flashing and signs are extended out). Sadly, there are too many incidents by which vehicles pass a stopped school bus as it is loading or unloading passengers, and some of those incidents have involved fatalities or serious injury.

In the past, I’ve been able to provide a link to Shawn’s “School Bus Driver” website, which had a page dedicated to this matter in particular. However, he has closed the website as of a few months ago. In place of that link, I am going to share a diagram that has been seen on various sites across the web. The diagram clearly shows when vehicles must stop for a stopped school bus that is loading or unloading students.

passingbuses

With that said, I wish everyone that is headed back to the classroom a safe and wonderful school year!

If you see something, say something! (Repost)

In the wake of the horrible incident in Brussels, I wanted to re-post a piece from April 16, 2013 that discusses what to look out for while using transit. No, this is not a scavenger hunt, but rather a reminder to to keep a sharp eye out for anything suspicious. You may have seen or heard about security awareness campaigns put out by your area transit district since the 9/11 incidents in 2001. In Tampa and New York City – among other transit districts, there have been posters and placards that read, If you see something, say something.

Below are some key things (noted by the NYC MTA) to look out for:

  • Be alert to unattended packages – Especially packages that may be left in an awkward or “out of the way” place, like underneath a bench.
  • Be wary of suspicious behavior – This can sometimes be difficult to notice, but if you notice that something just isn’t right about someone, don’t wait until it’s too late.
    • I especially want to point out any instances where you may see a group of people going about in an orchestrated manner. These circumstances often signal that a possible terrorist attack is about to take place.
  • Take notice of people in bulky or inappropriate clothing – For instance; it just doesn’t seem right to see someone clustered within a group of people, wearing a heavy jacket in the middle of a hot summer day.
  • Report exposed wiring or other irregularities – For instance, a security alarm panel that has numerous wires (especially cut wires) sticking out may be a sign that the device may have been tampered with.
  • Report anyone tampering with surveillance cameras or entering unauthorized areas – I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. If someone is not authorized to enter a restricted area, but deliberately tries to get into a restricted area without permission, that person may be up to something.
  • Know what to do in an event of an evacuation – It is vital to know how to evacuate a bus or train in the event that an evacuation is ordered. Your area transit district should have specific guidelines in place that facilitate an orderly evacuation from the transit system.

If you see anything of the above, or any other suspicious happenings, don’t just sit and wait! Alert a local law enforcement official or transit employee immediately! In some major cities, like New York City, special telephone numbers have been set up so that you can immediately report such activity. In New York City, the number is 888-NYC-SAFE (888-692-7233).

The day before the incidents in Brussels, the NYC MTA unveiled a new safety campaign called “New Yorkers Keep New York Safe”. Learn more about the campaign on the MTA’s website.


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The Travel Log by HARTride 2012 Facebook Group is now open!

The Golden Gate Bridge Is Getting Its First Suicide Nets

After many years of debate, suicide prevention nets are coming to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

TIME

California officials approved $76 million in funding Friday to install an elaborate system of nets to prevent people from jumping off the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, taking action after more than 1,400 deaths in 80 years.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, which oversees the bridge, will provide $20 million in funding for the project, with the rest coming from state and federal coffers. A small amount of the funding still has yet to be approved, however.

Denis Mulligan, the bridge’s general manager, said he expects the net to be “completely effective” in preventing suicides.

“They think they can’t jump, so they don’t,” Mulligan said.

The bridge’s suicide-prevention system has been a long time coming. Golden Gate officials have instituted a number of measures to mitigate suicide attempts, including a telephone hotline, throughout the structure’s long history. Bridge employees, including painters, ironworkers and patrol officers, are responsible…

View original post 111 more words

Transit Safety and Security is Serious Business

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) is making sure that its system is safe for everyone! I will have a blog post up on this topic soon. In the meantime however, please have a look at their post.

Ride PSTA

Did you know that PSTA has a special division within its Transportation Department that’s dedicated to safety and security? Well, we do, and they’re a busy bunch of people! PSTA was recently notified that we scored 99% on a base assessment of our safety and security programs and procedures by the Federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Transportation Security Administration, which would make us eligible for their Gold Standard for the second time! Only those agencies with the best ratings receive the Gold Standard Award.

PSTA is a very safe transit system, with several state-of-the-art tools in place to help us keep it that way. We know where every bus is at any given time thanks to GPS technology on board every vehicle. Our Operators are trained how to respond and communicate with first responders in the event of an emergency on board, or if they witness a crime…

View original post 544 more words

Another train incident on the CTA Blue Line

Back in October of 2013, two Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line trains collided after an out of service train struck the end of another train that was stopped to load/unload passengers.

This morning, an inbound Blue Line train entering the O’Hare Airport station (which serves as the southern terminus for the Blue Line) overshot the bumper blocks at the end of the track, causing the front-most train to travel up the escalator that leads from the mezzanine level onto the platform level. The incident resulted in 32 injuries, and the cause is still under investigation.

Like the October, 2013 incident, safety protocols that would have stopped the train from overshooting the tracks did not seem to engage. Investigators will be figuring out why this was the case.

At this time, the Blue Line is CLOSED between O’Hare and Rosemont stations. Please visit the CTA website for updates.