Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Caltrain tackling “real jerk moves”

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“Real jerk moves” have nothing to do with excessive slack action on Caltrain push-pull commuter trains. Rather, in the words of one customer, they have to do with certain passengers, well, acting like jerks—namely, putting personal bags on an empty seat, a not-so-subtle way of saying, “I need my space. Don’t sit next to me.”

Caltrain is tackling this and other “etiquette mistakes” with Caltrain Manners, a social media campaign that “is just a light-hearted way to remind passengers that all riders are the ‘public’ part of public transportation.” Caltrain says it “knows that no passengers are perfect, and everyone makes etiquette mistakes at times.” However, “With more than 60,000 passengers and 6,000 bicyclists now using the train system each day, traveling conditions are tighter than ever on Caltrain. That’s why it’s important that riders respect the rules of the system and do their best to display best traveling practices.”

Caltrain Manners was launched on the railroad’s social media platforms “to help give customers a friendly reminder about appropriate onboard behavior.” The so-called “courtesy campaign” is the result of a recent online “What’s Your Transit Pet Peeve” poll, “where passengers were asked what annoyed them most about their fellow riders.” Caltrain tallied the results to determine the three worst “passenger gaffes” (i.e. real jerk moves).

On Oct. 12, Caltrain’s social media team posted a humorous animated GIF depicting the “third-most egregious passenger mistake”—placing a personal bag on an empty seat. As the post notes, some trains operate at 120% capacity, “so every seat is cherished and should be reserved for people, not possessions.”

Caltrain says the campaign “has certainly struck a chord with passengers, who have sounded off on the comments section in Facebook.” “I get it, if it is an empty train, but if the train is packed, it’s a real jerk move!” wrote one commenter. “At the end of a long day, everyone just wants to go home, and for some of us with bad joints (me), being able to sit is real nice!”

1024x1024“No one should ever have to ask anyone to move anything off the seats,” wrote another commenter. “People need to have a little class and show a little respect. If you didn’t pay for two seats, you have no right or proper expectation to occupy two seats.”

“Common courtesy, like common sense, isn’t so common,” said another passenger. “When I see the crowd building, I take my stuff off the seat next to me so others can sit down. And I’m still old-school enough to give up my seat to someone who needs to be seated more than I do.”

Caltrain on Oct. 19 will post another GIF illustrating the second-most annoying faux pas, as determined by passengers—loud cellphone conversations The following week will showcase the problem that passengers find the most bothersome. Caltrain spokesman Will Reisman said, ”We haven’t confirmed that one yet.” He added, “People annoyed at drunk San Francisco Giants fans wrote a ton of comments, too.”*

For updates on the campaign, access the Caltrain Manners website, or check out Caltrain’s Facebook page and Twitter account.

* Editor’s comment: That’s all? Drunk fans of one baseball team (pictured)? Here in the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia metropolis, we endure drunk Yankees/Mets/Rangers/Islanders/Devils/Knicks/Nets/Flyers/Eagles/76ers/Phillies fans (take your pick) who hog seats, scream profanities on their cellphones and assault train conductors trying to collect tickets! Trust me, I’ve seen it myself.









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