i’ve had the honor and privilege of living consistently in one of the greatest cities on earth — new york. it boasts great culture, a contagious energy, a smorgasbord of delicacies and free stuff, and — of course — a pretty great public transportation system. i’ve been in l.a. since april steadily (and i will always have one foot in the city that never sleeps) and while sometimes the q runs on the 4 track and uptown trains are running amok between here and there for 2 hours after the lunar eclipse, nyc public trans has figured out quite a bit. lately i’ve been taking public trans in l.a. and there are just some rules that make sense in nyc that l.a. public trans patrons need to learn. i know that l.a. is a place that’s primarily car-driven (pun intended) but for the people that do take pt every now and then, i’ve taken the liberty to list 4 them.
1. move faster.
nyc folks, bless you. you realize that trains don’t wait in the station. for anyone. but do l.a. folks realize that? if they do, they don’t care. when a new yorker sees a flood of people coming at him/her from the direction of his/her train, they know that it’s time to hightail it. they clench their bags and any loose articles of clothing and elbow their way through. missing a train is not an option. but in l.a…that means nothing. “oh, look! where is everyone going? check out my skateboard!” nope, l.a. it’s not time to dilly dally. it’s time to move your buns.
2. let us off first.
this announcement i’ve heard garbled over the train pa system in nyc: “let ’em off, let ’em off, let ’em off! let ’em off the train!” usually when this announcement is made it’s because someone ain’t gettin’ it. (more than likely someone from l.a.) it just makes sense. if you wanna get on the train, let people off first. because guess what? they’re standing where you could be standing and in order for them to get out of your spot, YOU HAVE TO LET THEM. move out of the friggin’ way and let us off to make room for your inconsiderate ass. and may i also add, WATCH YOUR FRIGGIN’ BIKE. just cause you have it on your shoulder doesn’t mean that it’s a boom box.
3. stand to the right, pass on the left.
this one irks me to no end. most of the time i take the stairs, but every now and again it’s been a DAY and i — still waiting to climb — need a little assistance. perfect compromise? the escalator. why oh WHY — dear l.a. — do you stand on BOTH sides of the escalator?! new yorkers are genius in this way. it’s a rule: to ride the escalator, park it on the right. to climb it, walk on the left. and in nyc when you violate that rules you hear a symphony of lip smacks and sighs and people who would have just been content to stand feel like they need to ask you to move just to let you know. and it’s great that you want to ride your bike to save the environment. three cheers for you. why ya bike gotta be diagonal across the escalator? there are times when i catch eyes with someone on an escalator who’s just as frustrated. we clench our jaws and raise our eyebrows as if to say “this would never happen in new york.” and it wouldn’t.
4. get up and show some respect.
there’s the occasional moment in new york when a train will rock me to sleep and i’ll miss this, but if i’m awake and i see someone who looks like they need my seat, i get up and give it to them. i’m sorry, l.a. public trans takers, but this is another area where you fall just a wee bit short. i mean, if your grandmother was standing in front of you with 15 grocery bags hanging onto a pole for dear life, hopefully you’d give her your seat. i don’t care if she has 50 pounds of crack in those bags, let ‘er have a rest.
yes. there are plenty others. but these are the main ones. don’t even get me started on the bus. ride on, l.a.!