Entering/Exiting a Train for Idiots

-or- helpful hints from ze Deutsch.

I love public transportation. I really do. Minus the occasional accident, weather-related kerfluffle, or construction tie-up, it’s fast, efficient, and gets me where I need to go.


I do not love public transportation etiquette. Or, more precisely, the lack thereof. 

Granted, if I compare Nürnberg to Prague, Nürnberg comes out miles (okay, kilometers), ahead, but it’s still far from perfect. Yes, people give up their seats for old ladies. But then they also spill stuff on the floor, block exits with strollers the size of a Humvee, and do other things that are politely discouraged on the “Bitte nicht…” signs.

But the thing that really, really, makes me nutty, is how people get on and off the damn train. Or subway, tram, bus, whatever else you can ride. Are you ready for my helpful hint? Wait for it…

Hint: Do not stand directly in front of the doors. If you stand to the SIDE, everyone can exit the train, and then you can get on without looking like a salmon swimming upstream to spawn. The train is not going to leave without you. 

Admittedly in Prague, all forms of public transportation are crowded at almost any time of day. A seat on a tram or the Metro is a rarity. But in Nürnberg, I almost never HAVE to stand. Usually if I’m standing, it’s by choice. There is almost always a seat available, and I have yet to spend a nauseating 15-minute ride with my nose in some dude’s armpit in the middle of summer. It’s really a non-issue. 


It is not necessary to stand directly in front of the door. 

How do you know if you’re standing too close? Well, if I whack into you with my large and very heavy purse I carry to work, that is a sign that you’re too damn close. And, because this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine, I will occasionally whack into someone on purpose. Just to get the point across. Not old people though. Just teenagers wearing Celtics hats as a fashion statement. Because I’m kind of an asshole sometimes. Sorry. 

Now, if you’re lucky enough to be in a city like Nürnberg, they’ve tried to help you out with this. If you’re waiting for an U-Bahn at platforms 3 or 4, you will see these….

…on the ground. Super smart, no? This tells you exactly where the door will be when the train stops, so you can make sure to stand well clear of the doors. 

The plan is slightly flawed in that not all of the U-Bahns that stop at these platforms are the same length. For example, I ride line 3 most of the time, and that train is only half as long as the platform. So if you’re at the wrong end of the hall, you might have to run for it. But still, very helpful I think. They haven’t done this yet in the other hall when the line 1 runs, but I think that one gets much higher traffic and so maybe they think there’s no point. People on that line are pretty awful at the door thing.

And yet, not a day goes by, not a day, that I don’t see some person *coughmomswithHumveestrollerscough* blatantly ignoring these very simple directionals on platform 3. Do they secretly long to be salmon? Forever going against the flow of traffic? Got me. Fish are weird. 


8 thoughts on “Entering/Exiting a Train for Idiots

  1. In Berlin they don't even wait for you to get off the u-bahn/s-bahn before they try and get on. They appear to think that they can walk through you (like a ghost) and it drives me mad.

    I tell you, I might not miss the UK too much but people there certainly know how to wait their turn, and queue. Not that I can allow myself to even think about queues here in Germany. Or I will implode in a ball of rage.

  2. I used to get rammed with strollers all the time on the train in Hamburg. The woman used them as battering rams to clear a path.
    Once I was trying on shoes at H&M and this woman plowed over my work pumps with her stroller. She looked right at me before she did it too. I was so shocked I couldn't even say anything.

    So if you are accidentally thwacking people with your purse I perfectly understand. This country changes you 🙂

  3. @Fiona: I definitely noticed how much worse it was in Berlin. But everywhere we went seemed to be super crowded at all times too, so it was all-around craziness. And agreed on missing orderly lines. I don't get it.

    @Wiffy: They do that here too. Seems dangerous though… it's all fun and games until someone falls over on the kid in the stroller. The other one I notice is the shopping carts while waiting in line at the grocery store. Hint: if you're hitting me in the ass with your cart, you are standing too close!

    Sadly, that is much more “old Heather” than Euro Heather. I'm much more relaxed here… I used to be kind of angry about stupid shit 95% of the time. I blame working in retail. Haha.

    @Sara Louise: Right? I'm so glad all you ladies agree with me on this one. I didn't think I could be the only one….

  4. This week we had public transit issues here too and I was seriously considering buying a stroller just so I can battering ram people right back. Lordy, it was absurd.

  5. Pingback: Weird and Wacky Wednesday: Vol. 2 | Heather Goes to Deutschland

  6. Pingback: 31-Day Challenge: Day 29 | Heather Goes to Deutschland

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