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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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March 4, 2024
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An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
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February 26, 2024

Unwritten Rules of Public Transportation

Train+Station
Train Station

I have been taking the MBTA every morning and every evening since I started taking classes at UMass Boston. Usually my commute goes smoothly, although needless to say, sometimes I get home a bit later than planned.
Now, because the MBTA is public transportation, that means as long as you have the money you can ride. Each day I see a plethora of people. I see students, mothers with their children, businesspeople in designer suits, elderly folks, and a load of interesting characters.
It doesn’t matter what “group” you belong to. 99 percent of the people who ride the MBTA understand that there are certain rules for public transportation. That also means there is that one percent that doesn’t.
This one percent either doesn’t know about the rules or doesn’t care about them. To make it easy for the people who have just started taking public transportation, here are the ten unwritten rules of public transportation:
1) Have your money/Charlie Ticket/Charlie Card ready when you board.
2) Headphones. Don’t talk to people wearing headphones. They don’t want to talk to you. Also, wear headphones if you are going to be listening to something on your electronic device. No one wants to listen to your screamo music or your soap opera. No one.
3) If possible, make sure there is at least a one seat buffer between you and the person beside you. Don’t sit directly next to someone you don’t know if there are free seats elsewhere. If you break this rule, don’t get offended if the person you sat next to gets up and moves. You’re the jerk, not them.
4) Try to avoid talking on the phone. Nobody wants to listen to you talk to your friend about what Becky said to Jessica. However, if you must talk on the phone, talk quietly and keep the conversation to under a minute and a half. Otherwise, you’re That Guy. No one wants to be That Guy.
5) Keep the public displays of affection to a minimum. Or at the very least, keep it  “G” rated. No one wants to see you and your partner eat each other’s faces. If you wouldn’t do it in front of your conservative grandma, don’t do it on public transportation.
6) Wait your turn. Don’t scream at people who are in front of you in line to let you on first. We’re all waiting so you need to calm down. No one cares if you have a stroller.
7) Speaking of which: If you have a giant stroller wait until everyone else gets on the bus. Your giant stroller makes it difficult for people to actually get on the bus. If you have any sized stroller, try to tuck it in a place where people can walk around it and where it takes up the minimum amount of room.
8) Try to keep your child quiet. If they are throwing a temper tantrum and you can’t get them to shut up, get off the bus/train. You may like your kid, but no one else does. Plus if you get off the bus/train people will stop judging your abilities as a parent; after listening to your kid scream for ten minutes we totally are.
9) Don’t smoke/vape on the bus. This should be common sense, but it isn’t. People who don’t vape don’t care if it’s “only water vapor.” They don’t want to breathe in that stuff. If you can’t wait to get off the bus, get a nicotine patch or go to Nicotine Anonymous or something.
10) If the bus/train is too crowded to get on, don’t get on it. Just wait until the next one comes. Unless you’ve been waiting twenty minutes or some ridiculous amount of time. Then forget this rule, embrace your inner sardine, and get in the metal box.