Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Etiquette

Red Line train to Glenmont arrives at the Farragut North Station.
Getting to the platform level on Metro can be tricky for out-of-towners and requires
a working knowledge of escalator etiquette.


If you've ever visited Washington, D.C., you've likely ridden the Metro at least once during your trip. One of the constant complaints from locals--i.e. those of us who live and work here at least 50 of the 52 weeks out of every year--who use Metro is the lack of common sense exhibited by business travelers and tourists, particularly when it comes to escalator etiquette.

Yes, you read that correctly. Escalator etiquette. So, to ensure you don't get yelled at--and believe me, you will if you commit this infraction--let me give you a crucial pointer on how to use escalators on Metro. To access most stations and/or their platforms, you have to use escalators. When boarding an escalator, if you're too tired to walk or escalators scare you and you want to stand, that's okay. If you're going to do that, though, please stand to the right.

Stand to the right, walk on the left. Easy peasy.
Or so you'd think. But alas, no.


Too often tourons, as we call them (tourist + moron = touron), think the escalator constitutes an amusement ride and they stand on the left, on the right, in the middle, wherever. If you do this, I promise you will get yelled at. Most of us will yell something polite like "Stand to the right, please!", but it's also possible you'll get yelled at in ways that could leave you thinking D.C. is a mean, nasty town full of mean, nasty people. It certainly can be mean and nasty in its own uniquely political, partisan way, but in the case of Metro most of the people who want to get past you have somewhere to be and they're in a hurry.

So, let's review. When using Metro in Washington, D.C., stand to the right, walk on the left? Just like the picture above.

Everyone got it? Good. Now, no excuses! If I find any of you City Daily Photo bloggers violating escalator etiquette, I'm gonna bean you with my tripod--permit or no! :-)

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 10/08

17 comments:

Bernie said...

The other behavior I see, from both tourons and locals, is stopping at the top of the escalator to look around. The escalator is still moving, dumping more people off. I literally ran into someone getting off and he looked at me like I was crazy, rude or inconsiderate.

Virginia said...

Guilty as charged Your Honor. I couldn't swear to it but I am sure at some point I have been yakking away to my companions and clogged up the works. Oh if only the Paris Metro HAD escalators. I am having a flashback to all the steps involved. Maybe I'll slide down the bannister instead! Tourons. I try so hard not to be one, but I can't help it sometimes.

And Bernie, I will keep your tip in mind as well.

Lucy said...

As a registered Touron in the DC area 'every once in a while when the urge hits me to go there', I feel I am an expert at saying these two things: 1) Riding the Metro is a blast! Love it! Getting on and off and outtta there is stressy and 2) DC locals and surrounding areas are in too much of a $#!%&!! hurry to get through the day. And they have no patience with those learning the system. Geez...take it easy. I feel better now.

Virginia said...

Well you go Lucy! I was secretly thinking some of that but since I am a major TOURON, I thought it best to play nice with D.C.! Now all I have to do is figure out how not to get screamed at in French next month!HA And you are right, it's the on and off thing that gets me too.

Debi said...

I hate escalators any where in the world, even the one-story one at our local Sears. I'm a complete klutz.

If I ever am in DC or elsewhere I will, though, remember your sound advice.

Love the illustrative photos you chose to go with this post!

marley said...

I've got it DC! If me and Phoebe ever get to Washington DC we now know what to do. I don't want our first meeting with you to be me being hit on the head by your tripod!

Professor said...

I think the etiquette is common sense. I'm a tourist in your city and think those who don't follow your rules are idiots!

D.C. Confidential said...

Everyone: Thanks for the comments! Just think of this as my friendly, looking-out-for-fellow-photo-bloggers PSA.

P.S. Lucy: I agree that Washingtonians need to lighten up a bit. Think of it this way: how insane does it make you when folks exits the chapel after Sac. Mtg. and stops right in front of the doors in the foyer blocking the exit for everyone else. Don't you just wanna bean 'em with a hymnal? Same thing here!

Lucy said...

I'll bring the hymnal next time I come out there.

Eric Salsbery said...

I thought that "stand to the right, pass on the left" was an unwritten universal law and a given in any situation...
well any except in the the case of driving the M1 in England or come to think of it, I-15 in Utah county.

D.C. Confidential said...

Eric: As with any universal law of etiquette, it requires people who actually pay attention and care and that would require people thinking of more than just themselves!

/snark :-)

Arlene said...

I'm so glad you've spared me from being a touron!

D.C. Confidential said...

Arlene: I'm totally on your side! Besides, I don't want you guys to get yelled at while you're here next spring! :-)

Maya said...

I really wish everyone understood this. Though, I have to admit, most Seattleites manage the rules of escalators fairly well. There are also rules for sidewalks, but I won't go into that now.

D.C. Confidential said...

Maya: I think the vast majority of people do understand this. Sadly, they just don't care.

Dusty Lens said...

So, next time I'm out there, I'm gonna' SIT on the escalator and yell out WHEEE! This should baffle everyone. ;)

D.C. Confidential said...

Rob: I would pay real money to see that!