Today's "Ride" column talks about how rides on Metra can be cheaper than rides on the CTA for city dwellers. But before I start sounding too rosy about Metra, I have to complain about some Metra riders and their unwillingness to make room for people getting on the train from stops in the city.
Everyone who rides the CTA knows the problem with seat hoggers -- people who leave their bags on the seats next to them so others can't sit down. As someone who rides both Metra and the CTA, believe me, when it comes to sharing space, CTA riders are all charm school graduates compared to Metra riders
There must be something about the agony of riding all the way from Fox Lake that make people think they're entitled to spread all their stuff out. If you ask them to move so you can sit down, some of them look at you like you're begging for spare change. I notice a lot of people who get on at city stops are meek about this, and just stand until the end of the ride so they won't have to go to the trouble of asking Mr. Suburban Corporate Windbag to move his &*%$#! briefcase. Not me. I'm tired in the morning, and I want my seat. I channel my inner Sister Harriet and firmly, politely ask people to move their gear so I can sit down. I consider it a teaching moment. If Mr. Suburban Corporate Windbag gives me any grief, I ask "So, did you buy two tickets?"
The other problem of boarding a train at city stops is that people don't want to move in. Often there are empty seats on the upper level, but jerks prefer to sit on the stairs, so late-boarding passengers can't get to the seats, and have to stand. Again -- it's a teaching moment. Tell them to move. I wish Metra conductors would pay more attention to this.
Anyone have any theories about why some Metra riders hoard territory and cling to it like junkyard dogs?