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Angelenos Against Gridlock is an advocate for a world-class transportation system for Los Angeles County, the most populous county in America.

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Making the Metro Experience More Efficient: Little Behaviors Add Up

David Murphy

Carter Rubin’s headline roundup on The Source noting that BART is considering signs to encourage riders to follow the unwritten “walk on the left, stand on the right” rule got me thinking. 

As a native Washingtonian, where the “stand on the right” code is much more deeply ingrained in the culture there — it’s an official Metro rule there — I’ll admit it does bug me that there’s not really much adherence to this idea here in Los Angeles.  It’d be great to see signs or announcements here, to help make it a part of our local transit culture. 

From the Washington Post:

Stand to the RIGHT, already.

That has been the eternal plea — grumbled, spoken, yelled and otherwise communicated — of impatient Metro commuters stuck on escalators because tourists don’t realize that in big, important Washington, you stand to the right so all the Type A people can hurry past on the left.

For the first time in its history, Metro has started telling them.

"Hi. Welcome to Metro," the station announcement begins. "We have a lot of escalators in our system. You’ll notice that most people stand on the right side. And while you’re riding, hold the handrail for your safety. Enjoy your trip, and thank you for riding Metro."

That said, practically speaking, one area where Los Angeles actually has a big advantage over DC: the escalators actually work here

On the topic of making riding the Metro more time-efficient and appealing to Type-A personalities and professionals in a hurry, I’d love to see announcements/signs telling boarding passengers to step back and let exiting passengers get off the train first. (Unless I’m forgetting, I don’t think I’ve heard reminders about this here in LA.) In Washington, the crowd waiting to board knows to part as the door opens (picture Moses parting the water — people make a path between them). In LA, it’s more a block the exit and slow down the process tradition, in my experience.

But in DC, there’s actually an announcement from the train (broadcast on speakers outside the car, too) every time the door opens:

Wouldn’t it be great to see both of these efficiency measures adopted here in LA, too?

—David