Know your manners. PHOTO: FARNIA FEKRI

Rules of riding the red rocket

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By Keith Capstick

The world of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) can be vicious and confusing for an inexperienced rider. It’s a world full of unspoken languages, undocumented rules and looks of disgust from seasoned TTC veterans that regulate the implicit laws of “riding the red rocket.”

This learning curve can be painful — weeks of bumping into people and getting off at the wrong stop become a whirlwind of humiliation and unnecessarily long rides. This humiliation is usually followed by the realization that maybe it isn’t such a good idea to stand obliviously on the left side of the escalator while the person behind you wishes for your immediate death.

However, the TTC can also be a great atmosphere to let your eyes wander. An early-morning glimpse of someone sleeping with their mouth open can be just the laugh you need to get you through the trip. Rye students say learning the fine line between casual people watching and creepy staring is one of the first steps.

“Creepy eye contact is not cool,” said Julia Costa, a first-year radio and television arts student. “There’s definitely an unwritten rule between being friendly and being creepy.”

Without a doubt, the most often critiqued rule is the moral obligation to offer your seat to those who need it most.

“It makes me angry to see someone not offer their seat to elderly people or the physically handicapped,” said Jason Te, a first-year civil engineering student.

Here’s a list of some other unwritten TTC laws — who knows, they may help you avoid dirty side glances or uncomfortably-prolonged eye contact.

  • If you see an elderly person swaying back and forth like they’re on a surfboard, get up and offer them your seat.

  • If at any point you feel like playing Pitbull songs out loud, consider the sanity of those around you and refrain. Even if you have headphones on, save yourself the embarrassment and don’t hum out loud.

  • If you’ve got a long ride ahead, pack something to do to distract you from simply sitting and judging the outfits of the people around you.

  • Use the Internet to plan your trips — don’t assume you know where you’re going because at first, you never do.

  • If you’re going to people watch, know the line between casual and creepy.

  • Before entering a subway car, wait for those exiting to get off before barging through to get a seat.

  • If you’re going to try to hit on a girl, know how to take a hint — don’t spend the next 15 minutes talking to her ear.

  • No matter how short the escalator out of the subway station is, if you want to stand, stay on the right.

Hopefully with these suggestions and insight from fellow students, you can familiarize yourself with the unwritten laws of the TTC. Above all else, when you get on the subway tomorrow morning, remember that nobody else wants to listen to 2chainz at 6 a.m. and that grandmothers don’t make great surfers.

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