Emergency Stops: A Letter to the Impatient Public Transit Rider

Dear Impatient Public Transit Rider,

I’m guessing you had somewhere to go. I mean, obviously, since you couldn’t wait the few seconds between the train stopping and the train operator opening the doors that you had to pull on the emergency door stop.

Maybe it was a life or death situation.

Maybe those seconds were crucial in a 24 montage way and I should actually be addressing this to “Dear Guy Who Thinks He’s Jack Bauer” and thank you for saving the world.

Erm…somehow, I don’t think so.

You didn’t look very secret agent-y or like you were special ops.  You just looked annoyed and impatient.  And, not that this is an excuse, but you didn’t seem to be scurrying out the door to somewhere special either.

So here’s some advice about safety: The subway doors are not your personal car doors.  The train operator opens them at a specific time for a reason.  I have seen moments where the train stops and then needs to move a few inches before it stops again to open the doors.  So, given that scenario, pulling the emergency stop is probably not the best thing to do unless there’s – oh I don’t know? – an emergency.  And squeezing yourself through the doors is both un-becoming and probably not the smartest move either.

Do you know what also happens when you pull the door stop?  It is not a emergency door that automatically closes after it’s been open.  Someone (in this case: me) has to push the door knob back in.  I did this while I walked in, but just as the train was ready to go, it turns out the other door in the car had also been open by an emergency door stop.  This means,

  • You probably passed on your bad behavior to someone else.
  • The seconds you saved were seconds an entire subway train lost because we were delayed by the unnecessary use of emergency doors.

This is the anti-thesis of the Pass It On campaign.

So, next time, do the rest of us a favor: Be a little patient.  We all have somewhere to go and let’s get there safely.

-cct, a carless Angeleno