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Transit Wizards

September 27, 2010

As a transit novice, there is a practice by transit veterans that amazes me: the pre-walk. You’ve seen these folks, your fellow riders who diligently walk around the platforms, stopping at some random, unmarked spot to wait. And when the train arrives, low and behold the door opens right where those people are standing. They might be transit wizards.

Two is probably the most calculated pre-walker I know. Every moment he spends not working on some crazy project has to be spent wisely, so he knows the exact place to stand for the middle door on the third car at Peachtree which opens right up at the escalator at Midtown. Me, I walk down the stairs and pick a place to stand. I’m doing good to stand facing the right side of the platform.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. 10B permalink
    September 27, 2010 10:14 pm

    I would argue that for Midtown southbound I board car 3 first door. You will catch up eventually. My concern is that with 4-car trains this is going to be messed up.

  2. theaccidentalcommuter permalink*
    September 28, 2010 12:41 am

    I would argue that one’s gender can dictate the motivation and final destination of the pre-walk. Mine is a three-tiered approach. 1) Scope out station for Pervs and Crazies. 2) During part 2 of Scan A, perform a disability and oversized stroller check. (Please understand that I am not trying to avoid anyone with a disability because I don’t like them. I’m actually trying to be considerate by giving them some space to board. In contrast, when did strollers become crossover SUVs? Do parents really need cup holders and shelving?) 3) Identify commuters who pose a noise threat. These include but are not limited to cell phone conversations involving domestic strife, iPods that can be heard within a three-foot radius, the out-loud iPod sing-along, and the tweaker with a compulsive need to shake her plastic cup of ice at frequent and regular intervals. Please note that steps 2 and 3 are most likely gender-neutral but the importance of the Perv and Crazy pre-screen allows this approach to be classified as a chromosome-based strategy.

    • September 29, 2010 2:49 pm

      OMG – I feel the exact same way about strollers!! Those freaking double (and even triple) wide contraptions should be illegal. I recently saw an article about some bus lines in a city (can’t remember where now!) requiring strollers to be folded on the bus. In my opinion, that’s a GREAT idea, but of course, parents were up in arms and acted as if they were being personally attacked or something. When your stroller takes up enough room for 2 more adults, there’s an issue.

  3. September 28, 2010 12:55 pm

    Oh, I’m totally one of those Transit Wizards.

    And not only can I find the correct place on the platform to wait, I can also stand without a handhold (helpful for reading the newspaper). And it’s harder up here in Washington, where all the trains are in manual. You really have to know the route, though.

    My commute:
    AM: Board Green Line in Car 6, door 3 or Car 8, door 1. [for access to Fort Totten stairs].
    AM: Board Red Line in Car 2, door 2. [for access to Silver Spring north exit]

    PM: Board Red Line in car 6, door 1. [for access to Fort Totten escalator]
    PM: Board Green Line in car 6, door 1. [for access to Greenbelt stairs]

    Mainly these moves are to expedite transferring between modes. Since I change from Bus->Rail->Rail and Rail->Rail->Bus, every second counts.

    • CCTgirl permalink*
      September 28, 2010 1:03 pm

      Well, yes, and you’ve also been known to hang out with Two :p

  4. Debbie permalink
    September 28, 2010 2:05 pm

    I agree with AC. The usual desired pre-walk point is quite often adjusted by the other factors. Add to that the glance across the track (at Lindbergh’s NB platform)to check for potential car volume and the final decision is based upon scanning the arriving train for capacity issues. During rush hour that final scan often trumps all others and I hoof it up or down the platform at the last minute.

  5. Darin permalink
    September 29, 2010 11:54 am

    Apparently I’m the Charlie Brown of the train platform. Not only can I not stand where the door is going to end up, the cars with the most empty seats zoom by as the train is coming to a stop and the cars that end up in front of me are totally packed to the gills.

    I’ve tried standing at the far end of the platform so I could get a roomy car and it’s only resulted in me standing past the point where the train stops so that I have to sprint to a door. And I suck at sprinting.

  6. Debbie permalink
    October 1, 2010 3:45 pm

    Poor Darwin! You have completely won me over with your Charlie Brown luck. Hope you get more than a rock at Trick or Treat.

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