A little Green Line courtesy wouldn’t hurt

James McKenzie of St. Paul pens an awful story in today’s Star Tribune op-ed section about how a family that had boarded a Green Line train got separated recently.

My uncomplicated smugness over our new, 21st-century urban amenity turned to horror at what happened when we reached the Lexington Parkway station. I watched the family gather up its things and head for the door. But just after the first young child had exited onto the platform, one or two people pushed by, entering the car, and the doors closed. The father, still inside, groped around on the door, banging on it trying to open it as the train left the station, stranding his 5- or 6-year-old on the platform.

The mother raced to the front end of the car as if in search of a driver, but we were in the third and last car. Frantically looking about, she found a small emergency call box near the opposite door, pressed a button, and shouted something into it as the train rolled forward, now a block or more from the Lexington Station. “I can’t understand what you are saying,” a voice said back.

“Where are you?” the mother screamed into the little box, apparently not sure if the voice of authority was even on the train. There was no response.

What parent with kid in tow hasn’t imagined this scenario?

Presumably, the couple was reunited with their child.

McKenzie sees a technical solution to this problem:

But surely Metro Transit can devise some combination of technological connectivity, driver training and public education to make such events, if not impossible, at least far less likely.

There’s an easier, more efficient, and cheaper option. Don’t be such selfish, ill-mannered transit riders, Green Liners. Let a family get off a train before you shove against them trying to get on.

Disclosure: Minnesota Public Radio and the Metropolitan Council are negotiating ways to reduce noise and vibrations from the newly built light rail line outside MPR headquarters under a contract agreed to in 2009.

  • Jack

    Free solution – hold your child’s hand when getting on or off public transport. That’s what I did when our son was young (and extremely active).

    That and Bob’s request for more polite passengers.

    • Kassie

      Also, have your items already gathered up by the time you get to your stop. Be ready to quickly exit. Be a polite passenger.

      The doors are huge and don’t shut if someone is blocking them. I don’t buy how the story is written. I think the kid got off, some other people, seeing a gap, got on, the family was still slowly making their way off when the doors shut. If they would have been right behind their child, even if a couple people “pushed” their way in, they could stop the doors from shutting if they were right there.

  • Sarah

    Wait, isn’t it the norm to wait to get on the train (or bus, etc) until people who are exiting have done so? That’s public transit rule #2, right behind don’t stand right next to the door if there are seats elsewhere.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    There’s probably security video, but unless I saw that I’m with Kassie. Don’t buy it being the bullrush onboard situation it’s described as because, riding the bus everyday, I see the same things. Not ready to get off, kids jumping on and off in front of their parents, etc. I certainly understand how it might feel that way to a parent, though, so I’m not asserting anyone made anything up.