Because I attend college in Boston, I don’t have a car on campus. I could, for a low price of around $500. However, I don’t really need my car because I rely on public transportation. Being in the city (or at least, right outside of it) means I can hop on the T whenever I want to wherever I want. This is my second year of taking the T, and I’ve quickly become accustomed to riding the subway. Before I came to school, I really only took public transportation once or twice (besides an airplane). This was a big step for me, and for others who are also taking that transition from a car to a subway pass. Here are some tips for taking the subway wherever you live, so you can feel confident every time you get on that platform.
1. If you’re short and standing, find a pole that is shorter to hold onto. When you have little arms like I do, it’s a hassle to reach or hold the poles up high or the straps. Your arms will hurt very badly after.
2. Also if you’re standing, find a spot near a seat. If the person sitting leaves, snag the spot so you don’t have to stand longer. I do that quite often.
3. Be assertive. If someone is standing too close to you, glare at them. I’ve had times where I’ve felt a little nervous because of someone standing way too close when there’s enough room on the platform. Walk away casually to another spot. Don’t let stuff happen by letting it go. If there is someone talking to you and you don’t like it, then ignore them. You don’t have to be polite if you don’t feel you should at that moment.
4. If possible and when needed, give your seat to someone who could use it. I always try to give my seat up to a child if they’re standing with their parent nearby. If your legs work fine, you can stand for a little while. It usually happens for me when everyone is going to a Red Sox game. At least I know the subway will empty out at that stop, and I can have a seat again soon.
5. Wear headphones if you want, but never have it too loud that you miss your stop. Always be on the lookout for your approaching stop. I’ve never missed mine, but it could happen.
6. If you feel unsafe at any time either on a platform or on your train, TELL SOMEONE. Don’t let the person who’s following you keep doing it and put yourself in danger. Speak up, whether you’re with a friend or by yourself. Start talking to the person next to you, tell a train officer, or call someone to have someone to talk to. But don’t become distracted either!
7. Hold on if you’re standing. Seriously. I’ve had plenty of times where I stumbled and once I almost fell into a stranger’s lap. Don’t be the idiot like me.
8. Know where you’re going. Look up the stops beforehand, or check out the signs on the train. I’ve memorized the D Green Line to a T (ha) so I know what stop is next and what each stop is. I know that Hynes is one end of Newbury Street, Arlington is the other end at Boylston, and I get off at Park Street to change to the Red Line. You don’t want to be that person on the subway who has no idea what you’re doing. Plus, you don’t want to get off at the wrong stop and then have to pay again.
9. Always have your subway pass handy. I know exactly where my Charlie Card is and I pull it out before I’m actually at the station. Then if a train is coming and I don’t want to miss it, I can quickly swipe it and get on. You don’t want to be that other person who stands there for five minutes digging through their purse or pockets to find your pass.
10. Don’t look panicked. If you’re worried or scared about being on the subway, it’s going to show and you’ll look vulnerable to strangers. Look confident when you’re on the subway. If you walk with your head held high and don’t have a care in the world, you won’t be bugged. You can’t let yourself be little. Be the bigger person, and you’ll do just fine on the subway.