Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

MARTA misbehavior: private concert on public transit

From our friend and AJC colleague, Mandi Albright:

Someone on my MARTA train to Dunwoody today decided to subject our entire car to his (or her) loud music. But right as we pulled out of the West End station, our train operator made an announcement:

“To the person playing loud music: The MARTA police will be coming through this train and looking for you.”

Immediately, our anonymous music-sharer turned down the volume and the train got quiet. Chalk one up for the “Ride With Respect” campaign and, my guess, someone making use of MARTA's free “See & Say” smartphone app to report the nuisance. Nobody pumped up the jams for the rest of the ride north.

During a recent trip to Boston, I saw this kind of public calling-out work brilliantly. A twentysomething focused on his smartphone screen started crossing the street against the light. Then a Duck tour driver barked, “NO! You don’t get to do that! You’re gonna get run over if you don’t stop looking at your cellphone! Get outta the WAY!”

People on the street and in the tour vehicle laughed out loud and cheered the driver. The young man quickly stepped back onto the sidewalk and put his cellphone in his pocket (for the moment).

It’s not fun or easy to publicly call out someone for rude behavior, but it can be brutally effective. So here’s to the MARTA train operator and the Duck driver for taking charge and looking out for all the commuters who don’t blast loud music or those who don’t ignore safety signals because they’re engrossed in their own smartphone world. Also, good for MARTA for offering an easy-to-use app that allows train or bus riders to take back ownership of their commutes.

But the easiest way to avoid such situations? Don’t create them in the first place. Ride, as MARTA says, with respect for others.

TELL US: Have you used the MARTA See & Say app? How did it work for you?

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