Friday, November 18, 2005

TRANSIT: Coat and Hat Weather

IT'S THAT TIME OF SEASON AGAIN for public transit. The weather gets colder, people bundle themselves up in warm coats and those extra inches begin to add up and spill into the aisle.

This afternoon, I was on a 52 bus headed north on 14th Street and had forgotten how extra layering can create extra headaches on public transit, especially on a crowded bus, like your 52/54s (14th Street NW), S-series (16th Street NW), 30-series (Pennsylvania Avenue-Wisconsin Avenue crosstown), and rush hour D2 buses. One slight move that wouldn't ordinarily intrude on your neighbor's personal space can amplify itself. Trying to navigate yourself in and out of a seat can be a challenge and so too can be the process of proceeding your way to or from the bus doors. While people are expected to bump into one another on a bus, it is the colder weather where people are reminded how transit riders can be packed in like sardines.

The photo above was taken this afternoon on a 90 bus on 18th Street NW heading through Adams Morgan, which didn't happen to be as crowded, but you can see here how this woman's outer layering can create abundant buffering that spills over into the next seat. Add 10-15 more such folks on the bus and you can see where crowding in the winter can become a little too close for comfort for some.


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