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They Forget The Most Important One – Stand on the Right and Walk on the Left

by Prince Of Petworth January 19, 2017 at 11:30 am 12 Comments

metro advice
Photo by PoPville flickr user Tim Brown

Ed. Note: Please also remember to advise any visitors you are hosting that proper metro riding etiquette requires the passenger to stand on the right or walk on the left side of escalators.


“As tens of thousands of visitors arrive for the 58th Presidential Inauguration, Metro has some important safety and travel tips for those planning to use the rail system.

For your safety

On Inauguration Day, Metro stations, platforms and trains may be extremely crowded. Some escalators will be intentionally turned off by police to “meter” the flow of passengers. Please use caution when traveling through crowded areas.

On the platform, stand back from the edge until the train comes to a complete stop and the doors open. Take note of the flashing lights on the floor that indicate a train is approaching, and make sure you are behind the “bumpy tile” safety strip. Hold children by the hand.

Never jump down onto the tracks for any reason. Metro tracks are electrified and trains run frequently. If you drop something on the tracks, see a Metro station manager or Transit Police officer for assistance.

Do not run in stations, on escalators or platforms. The next train is just minutes away.

Do not hold the train doors. They do not work like elevator doors and will not reopen automatically. When you hear the chimes indicating the doors are closing, step back and wait for the next train.

Aboard the train, move away from the doors to make room for those behind you. Do not lean on the doors.

On escalators, take small children by the hand. Stand on the right side. Do not bring strollers on escalators; use elevators instead. When you reach the top or bottom of an escalator, keep moving so that customers behind you have room to exit.

In the Metro system, smoking, eating and drinking are prohibited. Bicycles and coolers are not permitted aboard trains on Inauguration Day. Also, take note of items that are prohibited at Inauguration events, including weapons of any kind, laser pointers, glass, selfie sticks, drones, large backpacks or sticks.

For your security

Immediately report any unattended items or suspicious activity. Call Transit Police at (202) 962-2121 or send a text to “MyMTPD” (696873).
Metro Transit Police continuously patrol stations and trains, both in uniform and in plain clothes.
Please note that items carried onto the Metro system may be subject to random security screening by uniformed Transit Police officers.
Tampering with or disabling Metro equipment, such as escalators, elevators, train doors or emergency equipment, is unlawful and may result in arrest.
In the event of an emergency, intercoms are located on station platforms and aboard trains. Follow the direction of police officers and Metro personnel, and listen for public address announcements.

Travel Tips

Buy your SmarTrip card in advance to avoid lines on Inauguration Day. Each rider age 5 and up needs his or her own card. You can buy SmarTrip cards at any Metro station, as well as CVS/Pharmacy or Giant stores. Be sure the card is loaded with enough value to pay for all trips you plan to take during the day.
Remember where your trip started. Many visitors who are dropped off at Metro get on a train without taking note of the station name where they boarded.
Spread out along the platform. Rail cars in the middle of the train are the most crowded. Try boarding all the way at the front or back of the train. Note that an 8-car train will occupy the entire length of the station platform.
Plan your trip to Inauguration events without transferring between lines. There is a Metro station near the National Mall on each of Metro’s six rail lines.
As a reminder, on Inauguration Day, Metro will open at 4 a.m. and close at midnight. Five Metrorail stations will be closed on Inauguration Day: Pentagon, Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Archives and Mt Vernon Square.
Sign up for Metro Inauguration Alerts by texting “POTUS” to 90360. Visit wmata.com/inauguration for additional information and maps.”

  • Blithe

    They DID include my personal favorite: When you get to the top or the bottom of an escalator, Don’t Stop! Please keep going. There really are people behind you.

    • Anonymous

      Oh yeah, this frustrates me. Folks, when you get to the end of the escalator you gotta take like four or five steps away before you do anything else. We’re all right behind you and would like to get off the escalator in an orderly manner as well.

  • JoDa

    Metro does not support walking on the escalators, so they will never say “walk left.” But they have, as of a few years ago, gone halfway there by including “stand to the right.”
    People stopping at the end is extremely annoying and dangerous (and something I just can’t understand…doesn’t your run-down JC Penny in whatever exurban hell hole you came from have an escalator? Do you stop at the end of that one, too???), but the strollers make my blood boil. I refuse to stand “down escalator” from someone wheeling something inappropriate on (strollers, walkers, bikes, WHEELCHAIRS (oh yeah, I’ve seen this on more than one occasion)). Forget that I can’t get around them to walk, if you drop {whatever/whomever} on me, I’m going to lose it. Is there some reason why we don’t have airport-style poles in front of/around the escalators to outright prevent this?

    • AB

      I’m with you on the strollers but because of frequent elevator outages I sometimes find myself with a stroller on the escalator…it’s annoying but I think kid is safer in it than in my arms squirming with me trying to wrestle the stroller, the diaper bag while trying to hold on to dear life with the other hand…

      • JoDa

        I’m more understanding if the elevator is out of service (and particularly if the stroller is compact rather than some monstrosity that I could probably squeeze into), but that’s almost never the case at some of the stations I frequent. They’ll walk right by an operational elevator and roll onto the escalator. Some college kid did this with his bike, at rush hour (when he shouldn’t have had his bike on the Metro at all), at Brookland just the other day. I usually don’t use Federal Triangle, but from the times I have, there’s a guy who (apparently) goes up the escalator in his wheelchair every morning, no matter the elevator status (it was working the few times I’ve crossed paths with him). When I had to go run an errand mid-day a few weeks ago, someone was getting snippy with the Station Manager at Federal Triangle because she asked them to use the elevator to the platform with a stroller.
        Those are the cases that get under my skin.

        • AB

          ok, that’s messed up, and don’t get me started on how unsafe that is… why wouldn’t you use the elevator if it’s right there and working (for once!)??!! it would really annoy me too!

          • JoDa

            I see so much of the “no good reason” that I can only conclude that there’s a real problem here with an over-inflated sense of self-importance. The couple at the Federal Triangle Metro a few weeks ago was whining about how slow the elevators were to the Station Manger as I walked past (because arguing is a guaranteed time-saver???). And, I mean, the guy who can go up the escalator in his wheelchair? Impressive…but dangerous, self-absorbed, and taking other people’s time to save a few seconds of your own! He forcefully rolls on (necessitating a few seconds’ wait so he doesn’t slam into people in front of him) and then holds on to the hand rails…no one can walk past AND those move at a different speed than the stairs, so his grip is destined to get ever more precarious as he goes up!

  • CS

    “The next train is just minutes away” You may try to pull one over on the visitors Metro, but the locals know better.

    • Belinskaya

      “Minutes” is plural. So it’s technically true. 2 minutes, 100 minutes: still minutes! Metro loves loopholes like that.

      • CS

        You do have a point – real estate agents also love that loophole

    • JoDa

      Locals can, largely, gracefully dive through a closing door without causing too much trouble. Some tourists gave me the whale-eye when I jumped through a closing door not long ago, but I made it without stopping the door from closing. Unlike the woman several years ago who had a full-on toddler-level tantrum when throwing her bag into the door to hold it open for her approaching husband didn’t work, and the driver kept announcing to pull the bag out (he saw and wasn’t about to open the doors again). When someone yanked it out of the door for her and we took off, she was screaming about how she was now “lost and alone in this dangerous city.” Like…cellphones work in the central part of Metro (this started at Gallery Place, and my old Sprint and current Verizon work both at Gallery Place and Judiciary Square) and you can always just get off at the next stop…

  • M

    “The next train is just minutes away.” Yeah…right!!!!!!!


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