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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Backpack boogie

Once the MBTA takes care of the pram jam, will they do anything about the in your face (and other body parts) attitude of folks who tote backpacks?

Count me among those who think common courtesy and common sense -- not to mention on-time performance -- can do more to solve the jammed aisles than feeble rules enforced by a "stern lecture."

Let's face it, strollers and buses mesh as well as Red Sox and Yankee fans. Even folding up the seats designed to make room for wheelchairs leave little room to manuever aisles that can't handle the crush of passengers that result from long waiting times.

There is slightly more room on Red, Orange and Blue Line trains. As for the Green Line, well...

The Breda cars were designed to look sleek from the outside -- and are dysfunctional on the inside. But I've experienced more inconvenience from the student backpack jammed into my face -- and whipped around a few times during the wearer's conversations -- than anything caused by a mother or nanny with a single-seat stroller.

And women and men with small children have one thing urban backpackers lack -- the sense to know they are taking up extra space. Say something to a toddler toter and you will get an attempt at accommodation. Say something to a backpacker and you will likely get a lot of lip.

So count me among those skeptical about the value of any organized effort to to wrangle strollers -- unless there's a similiar move, say charging an extra fare -- for oversize backpacks.

And keeping buses and subways on regular schedule to avoid sardine car situations would go a long way too.

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