I was reading my daily devotional a couple of years ago. The story was about living in New York City and friendliness. The author was talking about that what most people consider rudeness in the rest of the country is actually showing respect for all the others around you in New York. Since so many people are moving and waiting in line for things, it is really not polite to chat up the attendant, teller, service or public servant because so many other people are waiting. By being efficient with your transactions in New York, you are actually saying. I respect everyone else in line with me.
Atlanta is no New York City and I think most residents of each city are happy where they are planted. But with a population of 4.5 million, Atlantans, in particular MARTA customers, could learn a couple of things when it comes to personal responsibility and respect to others. Now don't get me wrong most folks get it but for those who are new to transit and for those who have missed the message...here goes.
So far I have found that some folks just don't get it. For example, every time you enter the train station and leave the train station you need to tap your Breeze card to pass through the gates. I always try to be prepared by getting my card out before I depart the train. That way I am not fumbling for the card blocking the exit or holding up bus riders. Now new folks get exemptions for sure but for everyone else use the old Boy Scout model of "Be Prepared". Don't be so busy talking or texting that you are holding everyone up around you. It doesn't happen a lot but the couple of times it has I just think - Yo! Pay attention.
Also, contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of people using MARTA. It's hard believe that we are reducing service instead of increasing. Actually, it's kind of insane! I have been riding for two weeks now and regardless of what time day it is, when I get on, the buses are full. The trains are full. In the morning, it's really standing room only. So think about the rules like no music without headphones. Not shouting across the aisle. Just simple courtesy really. If in doubt a good rule of thumb I think is, if you wouldn't do it in court or church don't do it on the train. Happily there have been just a few incidents where I wanted to say something. I know, I know shocking but we need to think about those around us. I guess this is the equivalent of the dumb drivers who think they are the only ones on the road and that blinkers are pretty flashing lights instead of the communication tools they are intended to be.
Finally, have we lost our Southerness? Or even our Midwesterness? What Southerners and Midwesterners (There are a ton of tranplants here.) are renowned for is our politeness. This is not just a MARTA issue but maybe because I have time to write about it makes sense to talk about it here. Words like thank you and excuse me go so far. What they really mean is I respect you enough to appreciate your service to me or I need to get by can you move a bit. So simple and yet so effective in making things more pleasant.
Then there are the transit little politnesses like standing on the right side of the escalator so folks who want to walk up can go up the left side. Standing to the side while people exit the bus or train. Letting people exit first and then entering the train. Men letting the elderly or ladies sit. People helping Mothers. I am always delighted when a young man stops and lets the women go first. This simple act does not say "you are weaker" what it does say is I am extending you respect by letting you go first. How delightful!
The good news is most folks get it but for anyone who doesn't know or for those who have forgotten... Manners are a show of respect for those around you and for the community you participate in. Have you respected your fellow commuter or Bus driver today?
Tags: Transportation News Altanta