As a new daily Metro commuter, and a long time occasional rider, I have noticed that some folks (read: tourists) need a primer on how to use the system without aggravating those of us on the way to work or school. How useful this will be considering my readership (Hi Mom!), I don't know. Anyways, here we go:
1. Stand right, walk left: I can not emphasize this enough. It really applies everywhere, not just escalators. This includes your children and your luggage, no joke. Blocking the path for those in a rush is most likely to make us late for work, but could possibly harm national security.
2. Don't get on between 7:30-9 am or 4-6 pm unless you have no other choice: These are commuting hours, people are tired, stressed, and generally unfriendly. It's the time when Washingtonians are not at our finest. We don't want you to ask us for help, we want to check our blackberries and listen to our iPods. Don't be offended, but if you can help it, avoid these hours at all costs. Most attractions don't open until 10 anyways and there are plenty of ways to get around without the Metro in the afternoon. Besides, that's when the fares are highest!
2a. If you must commute during these times, be a little subdued: You think it's fun, we get it. Metro is a great system and we're glad you're here, really, even if we don't show it. But honestly at 5:45 we aren't interested in hearing about your experience at Air and Space loud enough for the whole car to hear. However, it's Friday or Saturday night or after a local team win (go Caps!), then, of course, we don't mind as much.
3. If you can, stand: seats are prime real estate. Unless you have a compelling reason to sit or are traveling to the last station, stand. There are people who need it more than you.
4. Turn down your iPod: Most of don't share your taste in music and it's gonna cause hearing loss anyways.
5. Don't trash our city: We know we aren't as cosmopolitan as New York or LA, but for most of us, that's a good thing. We like that we are a little sleepy, a little small town and a little provincial. If we wanted to live somewhere faster, we would. Appreciate us for what we are, don't complain about what we aren't.
6. Don't discuss politics: Some of us are political junkies, I know I am, but most of us aren't. Having a loud/derogatory discussion about xyz politician or party, is uncouth. Now joking about the state of Metro, that's perfectly fine.
7. Don't use the Smithsonian stop: Yes, it's the closest. But it's the most crowded especially during May-July. Get off one stop earlier/later at Federal Triangle or Gallery Place. The difference in distances in negligible and the crowds are much smaller.
There we are, seven habits of highly effective metro riders. Anything I've missed? Add it in the comments.