Last week, in my air travel from Pensacola to the DC area, I had a quick layover at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport that required me to move from one terminal to the other. Because the plane I was connecting from was late arriving (as expected because it was Delta), I took the Plane Train to move between the terminals as opposed to just walking as I usually do. While on the train, there was a guy who thought it was cool to just do his Crossfit workout during the 1-minute ride. I shook my head in disbelief and almost on cue, thoughts of the Tokyo Metro Manners promotions came to mind. That leads me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across the moment in the Spring of 2008. I was riding on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and I saw the first poster. It featured a woman adjusting her eyelashes, much to the chagrin of an onlooking rider. Over my remaining 2 years in Tokyo, there was a new promotion poster every month. The 2008 and 2009 posters were of the “Please Do It At Home” variety whereas the 2010 versions featured “Please Do It Again” instances. For the most part, the manners of Japanese train riders is fantastic (see this Flashback Friday moment). It’s very rare that you find somebody acting out on the trains…at least it was rare in my experience.
What it meant to me then? At the time, I thought it was a fantastic concept. As I’ve became more and more favorable towards public transportation—especially rail transport—I felt it was necessary to encourage riders to be mindful of others. Personally, I’m a big fan of silence on the trains, which is why that 10-minute stretch between Mitaka and Kokubunji on the Chūō Line is the best riding in the system: you can hear a pin drop even on a train car filled with 400-500 passengers. The way I see it is this: I paid the fare to get from Point A to Point B, not all that extra stuff that happens onboard like loud talking or dance contests or listening to somebody’s loud music player.
What it means to me now? Today, I still feel the same way. My trip to the nation’s capital last week cemented it. I rode the Metro and people were on the train talking loud, eating, and panhandling. It was ridiculous. I just think people should STFU on trains, be still, and just ride…plain and simple.