How to Deal With the Dangers of Subway Riding

The daily subway ride can tire you to a stone’s throw if you don’t know how to deal with the rush of noise, odors, and annoyed passengers elbowing you to sit down. And yet I’ve mastered it to the point where I don’t mind being shoved into a tin can every day of the week next to someone cutting my nails as we go to work.

Metro, subway or whatever you call it in your city – these are some unique challenges. You are packed on a crowded subway car, often with frustrating delays, and there is no shortage of eccentric personalities to deal with. Despite the chaos, I often find a moment to relax on this perilous train ride – it’s literally the only time of day when I’m actually offline, disconnected from all the buzzing notifications vying for my attention, while I’m busy doing it instead. many bright personalities with whom I share this beautiful city. This is how I do it without going crazy .

Prepare to go offline

If you are a city rat like me, then your trips will take place mostly underground. Unfortunately, this means that there will be no signal on your mobile phone. However, there are many apps designed with this in mind, so you can keep reading your articles or listening to podcasts underground.

Update your reading apps before heading underground

I spend most of my time on the subway reading articles that I have saved on my phone. The lack of internet on the subway actually suggests a rare time when I can’t get distracted, when I can’t check Twitter or check my email, so I use Instapaper to do some reading. Pocket and Instapaper are designed to work regardless of whether you are connected to the internet – as long as you update your queue and make sure you have the latest articles before heading out to the station (although some stations do have Wi- Fi. Fi).

However, both Pocket and Instapaper have an “Instant Sync” option, which means that any article you save will be sent to your phone as soon as you save it. Otherwise, the app won’t update until you open it, which is easy to forget when you’re in a hurry to catch a train. Enabling instant sync is pretty much the same in both apps; just go to settings:

Turning off instant sync will save you some battery life, but I’d rather have it turned on so I have all my articles ready.

If podcasts are your preferred way to pass the time , you should set them up to download automatically so that your queue is full before you get on the train.

Use offline public transit maps to know where you are going

Even if your route is completely planned, there are always unforeseen changes on trains that could cause you to get stuck at a station with no alternate route. Many public transport apps are designed to work offline, so you can check which train you should take and where you should get off or change.

Embark (iOS) offers a detailed map of public transportation systems in seven major cities and works without an internet connection. When you are online, you will also receive updates on system delays and redirects. The Transit app (iOS / Android) and CityMapper (iOS / Android) also offer offline metro maps of your city.

And while you’re offline, you can also put your phone into airplane mode to extend battery life. Otherwise, your phone will search unsuccessfully for a network to connect, no matter if you are underground, and this constant searching will reflect on the battery.

Know all the pros and cons of the system to save time and money

Each city’s transportation system has its own unique features that you can take advantage of to save time and money. A lot of real locals may already know them, but whether you’re a newbie, on vacation, or a lifelong city dweller, it’s good to have them in your back pocket.

Learn a few card tricks

In New York, buying a new subway card costs $ 1 in addition to the metro fare, but you’ll likely find abandoned cards cluttering up the station. You can often take one of these blank cards, load money onto it, and save money.

If you are paying for a ride, know how much money you should put on your card so you don’t have any extra change. The current “ideal” card balance in New York is $ 27.25 , which means that after 11 trips, the card balance will be exactly zero. (Even if you have a few cents left on your card, you can keep them to avoid new card fees.)

Of course, regular passengers can save money by buying a monthly pass instead of paying for the ride. If you ride the subway twice a day, every day of the month, you can probably save money by getting your unlimited monthly pass. There is $ 116.50 here. Sounds cool, but an individual ride costs $ 2.75, which means I would spend about $ 165 if I paid for each ride separately. And if you’re new to the city, most cities also have a 7-day pass.

Where to stand on the platform

Passengers are likely to crowd at the main entrances, so depending on the station, you can save a bit of space by heading from the entrance to the middle of the platform or to the far ends wherever the crowd disperses. It really depends on how the particular station is oriented. Escaping the crowds will also help when the crowded train arrives, so you don’t have to play human Tetris to fit inside.

If you know where you are going, you can also position yourself on the platform in the direction you plan to move in when you get off the train. That is, if you know you will head north when you get off, you can walk to the north end of the departure station before the train arrives. Subway platforms can span multiple city blocks and save you a couple of minutes of walking while you wait for the train.

You can also ask the train conductor questions if you are standing in the right place when the train arrives. According to amNewYork , you can find out where the train conductor will stop by looking at the zebra stripe sign on the subway platform:

To find the guide, stand under the black and white striped bar hanging above the platform – this is the guide indicator board.

“I always tell people to just ask for help. They are so scared and afraid to ask. They don’t want to seem lost. ” – Jack Strube, 51, Pennsylvania, MTA subway conductor.

The lane also indicates the middle of the train.

Become invisible in a noisy crowd

One of the most important parts of commuting to work in a system that can most likely be crowded and inconvenient is simply respecting everyone around you. Just treat others the way you want to be treated, which means you have to keep in mind the privacy of your fellow suburbanites even when the train gets cramped.

When you know that you are going to spend some time on the train, and there is nowhere to sit, move to the center of the carriage. People are crowding around the doors and you’ll probably find a little more room towards the center. Then you also don’t have to shy away from people who come and go so much.

If you want to be left alone, put on your headphones . Even if you are not listening to anything, just put on headphones or earphones to show that you are not interested in talking to anyone. Headphones are like an invisibility mask for social interaction.

By and large, most people are just trying to get their day and mind their own business, but sometimes you run into someone who wants your attention, like a beggar asking for change (usually harmless communication). Sometimes you run into more difficult people, whether they are drunk or just seem unstable. If no one is in danger, it is best to ignore them completely. I’ve found that if I’m just staring at my phone with my headphones on while there’s an uncontrollable person on the train, then by acting oblivious to them pretty much makes them ignore you. You can also quickly change the car at the next station: when the train stops, jump out and quickly walk to the next car before the train leaves.

To be honest, on the subway I rarely had problems with anyone. My family asks for crazy stories at home, but all I can tell them is that I arrived home from Harlem at 3 a.m. surrounded by the most down-to-earth people you could ever meet while I played the game in my phone.


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