I was having a great day – my final class was cancelled because no students showed up (yes!) and I left work feeling like great things were to come. I would arrive home feeling refreshed, rejuvenated even, and ready for an intense evening of writing. However, the Mexico City metro had other ideas.
Anyone who’s ever travelled on Mexico City’s metro, which is incidentally one of the world’s most overcrowded underground subway systems, will be familiar with that particular spirit crushing tendency it has. Long story short, the Mexico City metro is where dreams go to die. So, that’s exactly why you don’t want to piss off your fellow travellers when all they want to do is get home and put their feet up.
I’d go as far as to say that this post should be essential reading for anyone who plans on travelling on the metro in Mexico City at any point in the near future, but, you know me, I wouldn’t like to be accused of hyperbole. Either way, this is your definitive guide on how not to piss people off on the Mexico City metro, from a travel-weary Brit who uses the damn thing practically every day.
DON’T BE A MAN IN THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN’S CARRIAGE
Really, men? This one doesn’t need explaining but from the amount of men I see getting nonchalantly onto these wagons every single time I take the metro, you’d think it did. I won’t get into it again here, but literally no subset of men annoys me more than those who take up seats in these designated carriages. If you’re interested in more of my angry ranting on the topic, you can click here for a more in depth analysis of this inconsiderate phenomenon.
DON’T HOG SEATS MEANT FOR PREGNANT WOMEN
By seats meant for pregnant women, I basically mean any seat in the carriage, you inconsiderate brat! If a heavily pregnant woman gets on, I don’t care how long a day you’ve had, get the hell up and let her sit down. This goes doubly if, and I’ll say it again, you’re a man in the women’s carriage.
DON’T BUY YOUR CHILD A GODDAMN WHISTLE
If you’ve been on the Mexico City metro, you’ll be aware that there are plenty of sellers who flog (literally) anything and everything, from MAC eyebrow pencils (I’m doubtful of their genuineness) to flashing spinning tops, mandala colouring books to Samsung headphones (again, I question just how real they are). Just today, I saw Kleenex’s being sold in packs of three, elastic compression bandages, and the vieja confiable of the Mexico City metro line-up, Trident chewing gum.
However, if a seller gets on with a motherfucking whistle and you want to avoid pissing off everyone in the immediate vicinity, don’t buy one and hand it straight to your child. No one will like you after that.
DON’T CLIP YOUR NAILS
I wish I were joking, but I’ve seen this happen more than once, on both metros and buses and I cannot fathom why people think this is OK. Just, no.
DON’T PRETEND TO BE ASLEEP TO KEEP YOUR SEAT
I’ll admit it, we’ve all done this. You’ve had a long day, the metro is rammed and you don’t want to be squashed uncomfortably against someone’s chest or, if you’re tall like me, feel guilty that a tiny Mexican lady’s head is in your armpit. So, you take the coward’s way out and feign a deep sleep. The kind of deep sleep that allows you to continue snoozing through every sharp brake and whistle-blowing child, yet miraculously wake up right before your stop and breeze casually out of the carriage.
DON’T SHOVE YOUR WAY ON BEFORE EVERYONE’S GOT OFF
I understand that the doors are open for a limited amount of time, but pushing into a tide of people trying to get off will honestly not help you get on any faster. In fact, it will only piss off everyone around you.
Equally, if it’s rush hour and the platform is completely full, don’t be that person right next to the door who stands stock still, and leaves everyone behind them unable to squeeze on to the metro. It’s uncomfortable, but if you wanna get home before midnight, ya gotta do what ya gotta do, so suck it up.
DON’T STAND ON THE ARROWS AT THE BALDERAS PLATFORM
In an attempt to stop the horrendous platform overcrowding on the Mexico City metro, the powers that be decided to implement markings on the Balderas station platforms that indicates where the doors will be and ask you to stand politely to the side. In my experience, most people abide by these rules. Having said that, you still get the densely unaware (or perhaps just intensely inconsiderate?) passengers who saunter up to the platform and don’t stop to consider why everyone else is queued up neatly, before plonking themselves right in the middle of this off-limits area.
While we’re on the subject, don’t tell people they’re in the wrong place when they’re not – this happened to me in Balderas, when a clearly irritated old lady tapped me on the shoulder and loudly announced I was stood on the wrong part of the platform. I was not.
DON’T SEXUALLY HARASS PEOPLE
Most normal people realise how not OK this is, and it seems like the city itself is finally cottoning on to that too; there are now posters and awareness campaigns plastered across carriages and platforms, and the recent ‘penis seat’ made headlines around the world – whether it’s affected people’s attitudes in Mexico City yet is yet to be seen.
However, harassment on the Mexico City metro is a very real problem and shouldn’t be taken lightly. So, yeah, I can’t believe I have to say it, but don’t sexually harass people on the metro. Or anywhere, for that matter.
What pisses you off about your Mexico City metro journey? Tell me in the comments!