An Illustrated Guide to Light Rail-Riding Etiquette

Before moving back to Jan Brewer's "hell hole" about three years ago, I lived in Boston.

During my years there I rode the T regularly and picked up on some of the customary rules for mass-transit riders.

Yeah, Phoenix's measly scrap of a light rail is no T (also known as the place women go to get groped by strange men), but it's our version of a public transit line and we're proud of it, right?

So, I figured I'd share with you a few of the lessons I learned from riding one of the county's oldest subway systems, because many riders apparently haven't figured them out yet.

Here's my guide to light rail etiquette.

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7. Keep your sh..tuff together.

That means don't spread it out on the seats next to you, or the floor in front of you; whether it's your bags, the pile of schoolbooks you're hauling around, or your legs (this goes out to the guys who sit spread eagle across three seats), keep it (or them) together so other people can sit down.


6. Like most things in life, there's a process to follow here folks. When boarding and de-boarding the light rail, riders on the train get off first, then you board the train.

Don't stand there like an idiot trying to push your way onto the train when people are trying to get off.


5. Along those same lines, don't block the doors!

If you like standing when you ride the train like I do, then do it out of the way of people trying to get on and off the train.

Listen to the automated voice that may very well be that of a robot with a blonde wig sitting in a large, empty warehouse somewhere, and stand clear of the doors.

On my ride from Roosevelt to Jefferson and 12th, the doors open on the left at Van Buren, then switch to the right. I act accordingly.

4. Don't preach to strangers on the light rail.

They don't have an exit strategy. In fact, avoid controversial conversations with any strangers on the light rail altogether.

The light rail is not the place to question whether 19th century Irish immigrants had a harder time of it than 19th century African American slaves.

3. Don't take photos of people with your cellphone. It's rude and makes everyone uncomfortable.

An Illustrated Guide to Light Rail-Riding Etiquette
Claire Lawton

2. If you're riding a bike, I pity you. But do your best to hang it up in one of the nicely marked bike racks. Don't sit on it listening to your headphones while people try to squeeze around you to find a seat.

1) Finally, hey teenagers, I know it's hard because I was one once, but don't be stupid.

Just because it's your first time riding the light rail doesn't mean you need to run off the train at every stop while one of your friends holds the doors open. That's grounds for a well-placed kick in the back and off the light rail.

Now, go forth and ride the light rail fellow Phoenicians. Just stay outta my way. If you have anything to add to the list, feel free to post it in the comments section.


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