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Spread out and relax; it's the MBTA

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  April 5, 2013 01:43 PM

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Oak Grove bus passengers.jpg

Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com

Passengers boarded a bus at Oak Grove Station. How many of them were insufferably rude?

Spread out and relax; it's the MBTA

Storified by Jeremy C. Fox· Fri, Apr 05 2013 10:59:44

The next time you're on the T, stop for a second. Look to your left. Look to your right. Do you see someone being inconsiderate of fellow passengers? If you don't, there's a fair chance it's you who's being rude. 

Judging by the folks who used the #MBTAannoy hashtag on Twitter this week, it seems every third or fourth rider is pretty insufferable. 

Wait. Look to either side again. Is there no one in the seat next to you because you've put a bag there, or a package, or your dinner, or a pile of trash? It's definitely you.

The nature of public transit is that you share it with other members of the public. It's right there in the name. Yet so many riders feel they don't have to share. They treat buses and trains as their own property and sprawl on the seats as they would on their living room sofas after a big meal. 

This week's first tweet is from Maureen, who points out a common problem:
Why do guys have to spread out on the #mbta? Are their legs and arms broken? #MBTAannoyMaureen Ryan
It's true. A lot of men and boys sit on those tiny seats with their shoes three feet apart, thighs at a 90-degree angle, overlapping at least one seat beside them, often both. Rachel captured photographic evidence:
It's a special morning for this man! Not 1, not 2, but THREE train seats! #MBTAannoy pic.twitter.com/5Z5ygWKgoiRachel Heaton (Ryan)
With all due respect, Rachel, this may not be a special morning for him at all. He may spread out like that that every day. 

And while what he's doing is annoying, Kyle has found a bus rider who topped it. He's not just overflowing onto the seat next to him, where his right hand is taking up space another rider might use, his right foot also get its own seat: 
Dude sleeping on my bus. He looks comfy... #MBTAannoy twitpic.com/ch5ks1Kyle W. Kerr
His left foot is probably pretty comfortable on that window sill, but if his left hand had a mind of its own, it would be really annoyed to have to share a seat with his torso while his other extremities each have their own perches. 

Now, some riders have very long commutes, and you may be on the train or the bus very early or very late, and sometimes you can't help falling asleep. But please remember, your seat is not a bed. Don't stretch out as if it were:
Hysteric child and sleeping girl taking up 4 seats. This is why I avoid the green line most of the time #mbta #MBTAannoycreatine
As bad as it is to treat the T like a bedroom, it may be worse to treat it like a bathroom. Kyle W. Kerr, who captured the bus sleeper above, also found a fellow addressing his personal hygiene on a train: 
One step closer to someone full-on bathing on the #MBTA...? #speedstick #MBTAannoy @universalhub twitpic.com/cgwgvaKyle W. Kerr
At least it wasn't another case of toenail clipping. 

With all this private behavior going public, is it any wonder Liam was happy to step onto a nearly empty bus? 
The 66 bus was empty when it picked up myself & other passengers at Riverway. Am I in The Twilight Zone? #MBTABrag #mbtaLiam Sullivan
And Marissa preferred a non-human passenger to the other people on the T? 
ATTENTION: there is a corgi on the T. I REPEAT there is a corgi on the T! #mbtabragMarissa B
Something seems to have gone wrong in a lot of kindergarten classes, because there were many #MBTAannoy tweets this week about people who had trouble sharing space. Julie and Melinda had a couple of other complaints about people making poor seating choices:
Fellow #MBTA passenger is super annoyed I looked at her after she sat on me. #MBTAannoyJulie
If your rear end is two seats wide, please don’t try to squeeze it into one. #MBTAannoyMelinda
Sara and Red Line Commuter both had backpack troubles: 
There's a lower circle of hell reserved for people who put their bag on the seat on a packed rush hour train. #mbtaannoySara F.
Take off ur backpack on the train it's hitting everyone. If u don't at the next stop Im going 2 take it & throw it out the door! #mbtaannoyRed Line Commuter
Erzhik and Klouf ran into people -- perhaps literally -- who just would not get out of the way: 
If you are not getting on the train, don't stand right next to the door people. Why's that so hard to understand? #mbtaannoyErzhik
Did you not see the 8 other people getting on the bus behind you, and do you not see all of that empty space ahead of you? #MBTAannoyklouf
And poor, beleaguered Kyle ran into another space issue:  
Double-wide stroller. On the Red Line. At rush hour. And the kids are whining. Awesome. #nocommonsense #MBTAannoyKyle W. Kerr
And as they say on infomercials -- Wait! There's more! 

Whether it was loud music, smelly food, or an apparent case of consumption, riders found many ways to make their neighbors uncomfortable this past week: 
@mbtaGM it's like nails on a chalkboard listening to music leak out of 6 sets of headphones on the T. Turn it down, people! #MBTAannoy #mbtafoxymeatball
People who play music without headphones on the trains should be punched in the face. Cc: @LifeonMBTA #mbtaannoyJoe Allen-Black
Anyone who eats tuna fish on the T should be forcibly ejected and banned for life. #mbtaannoyJennifer Busiek Webb
@mbtaGM COVER YOUR MOUTH PEOPLE! Who raised you?! #MBTAannoyKelly Hendrickson
Bronchitis beside me. McDonald's behind me. Really wish I could breathe safely right now. #MBTAannoyVictoria Sandbrook
Someone just sneezed on the back of my head on the CR. I guess Conan isn't the only person screaming internally this week... #MBTAannoyCarey Mercier
guy basically yelling out of excitement about a poem #MBTAannoy #headacheKyla McCabe-Corrow
At least that guy had a love of language, Kyla. Not everyone does, and Audio Homie cannot stand bad grammar:
"Last and final stop" Umm, what does that mean?!? #MBTAannoy #redundantAudio Homie
The shades-wearing folks around Teesh also seemed to have a love of language, or at least a love of hearing their own voices:
Pretentious yuppies in suits and sunglasses coughing and yapping loudly on their iPhones on the 5pm E train #mbtaannoyTeesh
At least Teesh had a little compensation:
Me managing to get a SEAT on same 5pm E train #mbtabragTeesh
On the subject of language, Michelle noted, as others have in the past, that communications aren't always the MBTA's strong suit:
call cust service and 1st rep says i have to go downtown. call back and they fix my pass. if you don't know, don't make it up. #mbtaannoymichellemeister
But Tim and John found that some bus drivers are great communicators:
I got the "have a five star day and not let anyone get me down" driver on the orange line #mbtabrag made my commute!tim healey
My bus driver just greeted me with, "Good morning, the fabulous 91!" This is a good sign. #mbtabrag #mbtaJohn Hanawalt
While Amanda found a train conductor who communicated kindness through not words but action:
It's still so chilly but what a beautiful day! Train at Harv Ave waited for me while I ran to catch it #mbtabrag #springisintheairAmanda Gaughan
And Jules met a fellow passenger who offered a strange, unexpected compliment:
#mbtabrag "Do you play basketball? You got to. Please. Keep that on your mind." - Cape Verdean on the 210.Jules Wang
People on the T can be hit or miss, and so can the technology. Kenji, Dave, and Teesh each ran into a different electronic malfunction:
Commuter rail gates at Melrose Highlands keep going up and down #mbtaannoyKenji
Why do I bother updating the schedule on my T apps? They're never right. #mbtaannoyDave
ALL this money I pay monthly for a Linkpass...and yall STILL aint fixed the Govt Ctr escalator? Cmon man. #mbtaannoyTeesh
But Ken had praise for at least one piece of electrical equipment: 
The new lights at State Street station on the blue line really brighten the station up.#Centerofthesun #MBTAbrag!Ken Cuffee
Problems with gates, apps, and escalators can be frustrating, but the MBTA equipment that really drives riders crazy are the actual trains and buses and their general unpredictability: 
2 E trains and a D have passed me by at Park St. Seriously, no B train yet? #mbtaannoyDave
No 6:35a 57 bus today? Nice pairing with it being 10 min late yesterday. Thanks a lot. #mbtafail #mbtaannoyBob Danger
Nice to see the #MBTA rerouting Riverside trains to Park Street & STRANDING passengers waiting at Gov't Ctr for an extra 20 mins! #mbtaAnnoyPhil R.
Can time spent standing by on the #GreenLine be considered billable hours? Check your mail, @mbtagm #MBTAannoy #MBTAChristopher
This is the longest trip in history. Four stops=forever. Blue line.#mbtaannoy!Ken Cuffee
57 is ten min late today, but out of service bus rolls right by. #mbtaannoy #mbtafailBob Danger
So are lechmere trains just not a thing this morning? #greenline @mbtaGM #mbtaannoyMarissa B
Thought I was going to be early for work, but nope... Just waited 25min for the Lechmere Train at Govt Center. #shouldhavewalked #MBTAannoyMatthew Mitchener
@mbtaGM A HALF EMPTY 57 bus just breezed by my stop for NO REASON. Are you kidding me?! WHAT AM I PAYING FOR??? #MBTAannoyKyle W. Kerr
Thanks for the heads up about the new bus added to my already frustrating blue line commute. #MBTAannoy.Haven Orecchio
Haven experienced frustration similar to the other tweeters annoyed by their trains and buses, but she also saw the bright side:
To be fair, at least my 1.5 hour commute (which used to be 40 minutes) is free today. #MBTAbrag. Kinda.Haven Orecchio
Riders like Carolyn and Kyle (again) experience one of their greatest frustrations when the system fakes them out, when the trains they want won't come while others keep showing up:
Hey guess what #mbtaannoy the c train can come three times in a row but still NOBODY WANTS YOUCarolyn Vallejo
I think the C Line is having an identity crisis. This is the second one to pull into B's spot at Park... #gohomectrainyouredrunk #MBTAannoyKyle W. Kerr
A certain Boston.com correspondent had no problem with the timing of the Orange Line train on Wednesday, but when he stepped aboard, it was another story:
For some reason this #OrangeLine train smells like the rhino pit at the zoo. #MBTAannoyJeremy C. Fox
An unpleasant aroma is, well, unpleasant, sure. But it's probably not putting anyone's life at risk, unlike these issues reported by Kenji and Amanda: 
.@mbtagm 2 70 Buses just ran light western onto river street. Turned left from right lane. #mbtaannoy cc@JeremyCFox #dangerousKenji
Call me crazy, but driver of my #mbta 65 bus 0446 that left kenmore at 8 am should NOT be allowed to read while driving. #mbtaannoy #unsafeAmanda D.
If you see something, tweet something. Unsafe behavior should be reported to the MBTA Transit Police at 617-222-1212, but you should probably also tweet about it using #MBTAannoy, don't you think? And when you see MBTA employees being thoughtful -- or even other passengers! -- give them a shout-out with #MBTAbrag. Good manners beget good manners. 

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow Downtown on Twitter: @YTDowntown.

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