A Basic Guide To Light Rail Conduct

Illustration: Madalyn Drewno


Illustration: Madalyn Drewno

Most of our student population commutes to campus each day, and we all follow certain conventions when it comes to moving ourselves about. We hold the door open for the person behind us, respect traffic lights, and do our best to park inside the paint lines in the parking garages and lots. Pedestrians get the right of way, we let other drivers have our parking spots as we leave a crowded lot, and we hop out of the way of bikers charging along Arapahoe St.

Snowy weather is just around the corner, though, and more of us will be riding the train to school to avoid bad traffic and icy roads. Here’s a brush-up on light rail behavior.

Control your luggage.

When your seat mate has just handed you your pen and your jacket for the second time and  your water bottle is 30 feet away rolling around the priority seating section, you may need a better luggage plan. Keep yourself organized.

Manage your music.

No earbuds? Don’t play your music. Leaky earbuds? Don’t play anything at all. A psyched-out EDM jam that just dropped half an hour ago? Please no. Unless you’re playing one of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ soft pastoral symphonies, the music on your phone shouldn’t reverberate through someone else’s cringing eardrums for the next 37 minutes. This rule goes for backpack speakers, portable radios, podcasts, YouTube videos, and your commuting Netflix binge too.

Shoes must remain attached to feet at all times.

Train floors are full of germs. Station platforms are full of germs. Your feet smell nasty. Keep ‘em shod.

Don’t block traffic.

Move out of the way when people are charging for the doors. Don’t stand in the doorways while the doors are open, and as far as you can, move out of the aisles. Take off your backpack when you’re on a crowded train and put it on your knees, hold it in front of you, or wedge it between your feet. Don’t spitefully trip anyone, and by all that’s dear to you, do not get in the way of that hyper-vindictive door sensor.

Families, disabled folks, and older folks get first dibs at seating.

We can vote, we can marry whom we want, and we have a remarkable set of social and governmental rights that exist in few places in this world, but we’re required to respect our fellow humans. Be aware of who’s getting onto the train, and if they need somewhere to sit, pay it forward and get up. When a single mom with a stroller walks in, hop out of your seat and offer it to her before the train driver publicly embarrasses your inconsiderate derrière.

Keep your phone calls SFW.

Unless it’s an elaborate ruse to catch the attention of the guy or girl across the aisle, please don’t phone your bestie and talk about your relationship status. Parental affairs, personal finances, medical conditions and complications, and any conversation that involves verbally articulating your social security number, phone number, address, credit card number, and license plate is off-limits. Keep yourself safe, honor the privacy of the person you’re talking to, and don’t share life details with train folk who can’t help but eavesdrop.

Elsa Peterson
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