Trimet Riding Etiquette (Tri-Metiquette): #1 – Priority Seating Areas

Edit: Sept 24th, 13:37 We will now be using the term “Tri-Metiquette”.

More Trimet/Max/Bus Posts on PDX PIPELINE (7)

Trimet Portland, OregonAlright folks, I'm fed up with the riding etiquette that some individuals display on TriMet's MAX & bus services. Since I have my finger on the Trimet pulse (I do ride twice a day…), I thought I'd start a series of posts titled: TriMet Riding Etiquette. Or, as I would like to call it, a series of posts about “Tri-tiquette.”

So the first post in this series is about the priority seating area. TriMet buses have a priority seating area which is located at the front of the bus. Where is it on the MAX? Observe:

Trimet Riding Etiquette (Tri-tiquette): #1 - Priority Seating Areas, Portland, Oregon

Keep in mind, this picture was taken on the always-crammed morning commute. I was sandwiched in a sea of individuals and had to slide over to the area the photo was taken. There were plenty of elderly people on the max this morning… but, as you can see, a young lady felt like she needed to sit in the priority seating area.

Trimet Max Portland Oregon

This takes me to Tri-tiquette Rule #1: priority seating areas are for elderly & handicapped individuals, not for selfish young people who don't feel like it's necessary to respect those around them. If I had the balls to ask that lady who was sitting there a question, I would have asked, “How would you feel if your grandmother and you got on the MAX and you saw some young people sitting in the priority seating area?”

Trimet MAx Schedule Map, Portland, Oregon

Respect your elders, folks. Let those who might need some extra help sit in that priority seating area; that's what it was designed for.

Christian Bullock, aka “C-Block” aka “Pearls”, reporting from just outside of Gresham

More MAX info

11 Responses to Trimet Riding Etiquette (Tri-Metiquette): #1 – Priority Seating Areas

  1. N.I.K. September 23, 2007 at 21:46 #

    There’s nothing wrong with somebody who isn’t of the “priority seating” class sitting in a priority seating area. Now, if somebody who does fit the criteria wants to sit there, and the non-priority occupant of that seat won’t move, then it’s a problem, and you can draw-and-quarter the dumbfuck in question ’til you’re satisfied. Matter of fact, anyone not meeting that criteria had damn well better be paying attention and offering that seat to every borderline-geriatric within 10 paces.

    Just out of curiousity, why was the seat adjacent to this woman vacant when the train car was so jam-packed with oldies – she just have rank B.O. or what?

  2. Matthew Denney September 23, 2007 at 22:09 #

    Kinda a problem, but not really. I’m a disabled (young) person with spastic diplegia, and I use forearm crutches when I walk around. I ride the MAX twice a day as well. The main problem isn’t with people not giving up their seats – people have always given them up for me if I’ve asked – it’s more with the aisles *to* the seats being blocked due to the sheer overcrowding on the trains at rush hour. I’ve had times where I’ve boarded and had to rush to try and clear a path through bikes, shopping carts, and strollers so I could get a seat before the MAX moves and I fall over. At the same time, however, I think it’s offensive to assume an elderly person or a disabled individual is going to need a seat. If I grab onto a bar, I can stand on the MAX with my crutches fine, and indeed did so for a long ride once when the priority seating area was filled entirely with senior citizens. And it actually kind of offends me when people are constantly offering me seats on the streetcar, which I choose to stand on most of the time. Anyway, just my thoughts.

  3. Christian Bullock September 24, 2007 at 08:02 #

    N.I.K. – because the dynamic of the MAX is no one wants to ever sit next to anyone else. Plus, since I was crammed up to that spot, people probably didn’t want to cram up even more.

    Matthew – sorry to hear about your condition. That’s a good point (and will be addressed in this Tritequette series).

    Though, I have to say, I never knew I could offend an individual by offering them a seat. I always offer my seat (the rare case I have one) to senior citizens and those who I believe would benefit from having a seat compared to standing. I’m not going to abandon this self-practice.

  4. Mick September 24, 2007 at 10:37 #

    Matthew: I’m also sorry to hear about your condition. Having said that, taking offense to people trying to be kind is defensive, at best. When I was walking around on crutches with a sprained ankle several years ago, I would have been very happy if someone offered to give up their seat. Nobody ever did.

    Christian: What NIK is getting at is that your picture is not a good example of the behavior you are complaining about. If there was an elderly person needing a seat, they would certainly be sitting next to Ms. Headphones. Therefore, I don’t think you can fault Ms. Headphones here at all.

  5. mamabigdog September 24, 2007 at 18:44 #

    Not all disabilities are visible. For example, I have trouble standing for longer than 5 minutes at a stretch, and can’t walk distances due to breathing problems and and muscle/nerve disorder. I have a handicap placard for my car, but some would look at me and not think I have a problem. I don’t use assistive devices *yet*, but I would appreciate using the Priority Seats on the occasions I use Max. Would I be as harshly judged? Likely even worse- I’d just be that “fat lady” who shouldn’t even be out in public.

    Lest not ye judge- until you’ve walked a mile in my body. As if you could…

  6. Julian Chadwick September 24, 2007 at 23:36 #

    “Not all disabilities are visible. ”

    I agree. I’m sure Christian agrees. However, I don’t believe he is stating that people with disabilities should not use these seats–visible or not.

    I think we all know that we see people without disabilities who use them even if someone who clearly has one is standing.

    I will take it further. As a Southerner, I get up for all women, and elders. It’s not disrespect or thinking that women or my elders can’t stand. It is simply that I hope that if someone saw my mother, grandmother (former grandfather), etc standing; they would do the same.

    Love and kindness make the world go around much more nicely.

    PS. I can’t walk in your body, but I do this even though I’ve had two heart surgeries and at many times feel completely exhausted from the six to ten miles I walk in a normal day plus lack of sleep I get due to my over-working and excessive socializing.

    If I can make other’s lives a bit easier, Portland becomes a better place for all of us (myself included even if I feel like sitting very badly at times and probably have more of a medical right to do so).

  7. El Jobso September 25, 2007 at 12:11 #

    C’mon … packed train, but open seat … no one seeking the seat in question, yet this person is the offender? Did you also fail to get a release signed by this woman for publishing her photo. This is a weak attempt at trying to start a fire where there is no spark. Move on.

  8. jami September 25, 2007 at 12:39 #

    reminds me of this story:
    http://gothamist.com/2007/08/05/bus_driver_beat.php

    violence is always a bad call, but i can relate to the impetus.

  9. jami September 25, 2007 at 12:45 #

    p.s. to matthew, sometimes men offer women a seat. just because we’re women. i had seats offered to me when i was 25 and in fantastic shape. it can certainly be insulting to have people assume you’re incapable of standing — very insulting. but it comes from a decent place, and some people really do need the seat. it’s hard to know who’s who without a medical degree. mamabigdog raises a point i never considered — how people would react to being asked to yield their seat to someone who looks okay.

  10. boricua October 4, 2007 at 21:58 #

    On the rare occasion when a guy offers me his seat (i am female, btw), I really don’t see reason to take offense. He’s not doing it because he thinks I am incapable of standing, I’m sure, but because it’s part of a way of thinking that holds that to be good manners. Period.

    I am able-bodied and if there are no other seats, will sit in the priority seating area. The idea is not that they should be kept clear, but as the sign clearly states, you should expect to move if someone who needs it comes on board.

  11. Garrett September 2, 2008 at 15:46 #

    I’m all for offering my seat to the elderly or disabled at my own discretion but I don’t need a rule telling me to do so. This is a free country. I paid for a ticket so first come first served.

    My main beef is today I was asked by a woman to relinquish my seat. Her disability you ask? She was 5’3, 250 pounds. Not a disability per say, just a sad state of affairs. I laughed, smiled and proceeded to look forward.

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