MBTA Etiquette

Every single day, tens of thousands of Bostonians rely on the MBTA (Mass Bay Transit Authority) to get to and from work. The subway can get packed to the brim during the 8:00 AM rush so you tend to get very upclose and personal with people who are still half asleep and irritable because they haven’t had their caffeine fix yet. Tempers can flare, and a lot of dirty glares are exchanged. However, the death stares can be avoided if you abide by the unwritten rules of MBTA etiquette.

To those of you who are new to Boston, this post is for you. Here are the top 7 things that can really drive people crazy during the morning commute.

  1. Hygiene. This may seem like common sense but you’d be surprised how many people smell like raw eggs and sheer BO in the morning. Don’t forget to put some deodorant on in the morning and on the hot summer days you may want to double up. At the same time, don’t kill us with your cologne or perfume either.


  1. Boarding the bus or train before everyone has gotten off. This is a big one. Once the doors open on the T don’t just rush in. Wait for everyone to get off of the train first and THEN board. This is the equivalent of trying to entrance at the same exact time as someone is trying to leave.

  1. Sitting right next to someone when there are plenty of open seats open. This is the same rule as the unwritten rule about urinals. When possible, keep a one seat buffer between you and everyone else.



  1. PDA. We get it, you love your significant other. However, no one in the morning (or at any time really) wants to see you sucking face or speaking in baby talk with no infants around.


  1. Not giving up your seat for someone who needs it more than you. This isn’t something that exactly bothers other people as much as it just bothers me. If there is an elderly person, a pregnant lady or someone handicapped standing while you’re sitting down, offer them your seat. This is just about being a kind person in your community.

  1. Staring. If you’re a regular on the MBTA, you’re bound to see some “characters” while riding. To avoid any conflict, don’t stare or lock eyes with anyone. It’s sort of like looking at the sun. You can sneak a glance every now and then but stare for too long and there are consequences to pay.

  1. Talking obnoxiously loud. Unless you’re standing next to the person, don’t hold conversations on the T in the morning. If you’re talking to someone and there are people in between you everyone around you is going to be bothered. People on the T in the morning are doing 3 things; reading, sleeping or sulking. You’re conversation about how the weekend went by too quickly or how crappy the green line is because it’s always delayed doesn’t help any of that.

Abide by these 7 rules and you’ll look like a seasoned MBTA rider. Is there anything else I forgot to mention here? I’d love to hear what you have to say. Feel free to tweet at me @Aghanomics or comment on the boards below. Happy riding people!