You know I love my MARTA. I like using it to commute for work, run errands or get to various social events. Since I am on MARTA so much, I have developed a few, and I really mean a few, pet peeves. The obvious are panhandling and playing loud music without earphones. In my experience, these are one-off experiences and it is a rare phenomena. But the ones that really get my goat (that’s a southern thing) are the masses on a train car that seem to be totally unaware how their behaviors are impacting others.
One group is a bunch of middle school aged students Most of the students board at the Arts Center or the Midtown Station. They are adorable in their school uniforms and overfilled backpacks. And, as you can imagine, their socializing is all that matters. I get that this is a result of their age group, especially since I use to teach middle school. On occasion, the school teacher in me comes out and I break up a fight, or ask a student to give up his/her seat for another rider. Once I comforted a student who tossed her cookies all over her Oxfords and was as embarrassed as she was sick. And yes, I stick my nose in when bullying rears its ugly head.
But the real pet peeve occurs during rush hour traffic with those going to or coming from the airport. Marta has started a new initiative, Ride with Respect, with an accompanying app. called See and Say. The idea obviously is to be mindful of others and respect their space and then report those who are not.
In my experience, the biggest offenders are the airport riders. I love seeing the trains full and the diversity of riders but folks, the seats are for riders, not for your luggage, especially during rush hour. When some are standing and your luggage has a seat, there is something wrong with that picture. I’m just saying….
I have concluded the reason this happens is because these riders perhaps ride so infrequently that they do not know the appropriate protocol. So,I am taking it upon myself to share the protocol to Ride with Respect with luggage during rush hour.
Step 1: Find the right train car
Not every car is designed for luggage transport. As the train pulls into your station, or as you board at the Airport, look for the cars with decals of universally recognized symbols. There are several: the symbol for handicap indicating room for those in chairs in that car; the bike outline indicating room for bikes in that car; and then there it is – wait for it, wait for it…..the luggage emblem! That is your
car! Take the time to look for it as the cars go by when the train pulls into the station or as you board at the airport. Hop on! Not to worry, the train driver is watching and will not pull away if you are actively seeking to board.
Step 2: Lock and Load
Now that you are in the right car, go to the front or rear of the car. There you will find a section where there are no seats and you can stash your luggage and lock it in. If you have fear of it being taken, then stand near your luggage. Once it is locked in, a grab and go is pretty difficult.
Step 3: Enjoy the Ride
Next stop, your destination. Take a seat for your fine, thoughtful and considerate self and save one for me!
Worried that you will not be able to get your luggage out at your stop? The airport stop is a long wait since it is a turn around so there is plenty of time if you think you might fumble with it but I find it quite easy. If you are traveling from the airport, there are maps indicating the order of stops and perhaps start removing your luggage from its location the stop prior to yours.
Ride with Respect – It’s everyone’s responsibility.
Thank you for your mindfulness because as of Earth Day 2014, I am starting year 5 of Going A.W.O.C. – Atlanta WithOut a Car!