How to Annoy and Be Annoyed on the Madrid Metro

By Benedicto16 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

  1. Check to make sure there’s a strike. Strikes cheer everyone up and accomplish so much!
  2. Bundle up. The metro is always freezing! Even if it is hot, there’s nothing wrong sweating like you just ran on public transportation.
  3. Arrive just as the train leaves. This is hard to do, but the best of us manage this at least 50% of the time.
  4. Do not sit down to wait. Those benches are for weenies and idiots. Stand. Stand as close as you can to the tracks so as to be NUMBER ONE on the metro, baby.
  5. Do not let the departing passengers off. Shove on in; you are número uno.
  6. Lean against the middle railing. But if you can get a seat, sit with legs sprawled wide. Alternately, find any way possible to take up tons of space.
  7. Ask for money.
    1. Sing and dance, then ask for money.
    2. In general, annoy your fellow passengers.
  8. Talk about the people standing by you. In Spanish, as if they can’t understand you. This isn’t Spain, is it?
  9. Smell bad. If at all possible. If you can’t smell bad, do try to reek of cologne/perfume/sun-ripened raspberry body spray and/or its ilk.
  10. Get up two stops before yours. There’s just no time to get up otherwise. Tell the people in front of you who are also getting off that you are getting off. They should let you up front! Don’t they know who you are?
  11. Do not check the signs to see which exit would be best.
    1. Stop in the middle of a large group of people.
    2. Turn around; you were going the wrong way.
    3. Do not apologize if you swipe someone’s shoulder so that they stagger backwards. After all, don’t hate the player, hate the game.
  12. Stand on the left side of the escalator so no one get by. Optional: stand on the center-left side so as to appear as though you’re considerate but do not actually be considerate. No, no, tsk, tsk.
  13. Rinse, repeat

Madrid Metro, Concha Espina station.

Thank goodness I don’t have to ride the metro on a daily basis! I find myself liking buses more and more!

17 thoughts on “How to Annoy and Be Annoyed on the Madrid Metro

  1. More truth has never been spoken. My favorite is “vas a salir!?” as they try to push past you as you stand in front of the door. NO I’M JUST STANDING HERE FOR FUN. so much metro rage.

    1. OMG YESSSS And to add on that note, one time this guy was trying to cut and get ahead of me on the escalator going up so I looked at him angrily, and he was like “vas a subir?” Well, where did you think I was going????

  2. Sing it, sister! So true! I remember one señora with particularly sharp elbows shooting me a look and saying, “empuja, empuja!” in this impatient tone as we were entering a Metro car – as if I had missed the memo about how everyone has to push. Metro rage indeed.

    Buses are the way to go, hands-down.

  3. I am still cracking up at your spot-on percentage in #3. Also, if you think it’s cold on the metro, try the commuter train. The drafty, open spaces are BRUTAL when the wind whistles through a semi-open tunnel :(

    On the bright side, I find that I can avoid several of these metro problems by knitting on my commute. People have visibly moved away when I’ve done this (and the same can be said when I pull out an apple…).

  4. A lot of this sounds like problems universal to public transport in large cities in general, one of the downsides of living in a large city in my opinion and one that annoy the hell out of me (we from Texas, everyone is very polite here).


    1. I lived in Chicago for many years (and visited London, Barcelona and other big cities), and I never felt all this stress and rage taking the public transpo until I moved here in Madrid.

    2. No, I’ve lived and used public transport in New York, Madrid, Washington DC, and Boston. Madrid’s system is super-efficient compared to others in my experience, but the people/transport users are the most aggressive and rude, hands-down.

  5. I always wanted to write a post about the Madrid metro. It is one of the most bizarre things I’ve noticed about Spanish culture–the way they do not give a shit about personal space, push everyone and everything out of the way and do not get out of the way to let passengers off the metro or on the metro. I used to apologize at first every time I accidentally bumped into someone before noticing I was the only one doing it–so I stopped.

    Now that I commute daily to NYC and take the subway, rush hour in Manhattan is absolutely ridiculous (and makes me laugh when I remember madrilenos complaining of rush hour in Madrid!) but it is so so diffferent. New Yorkers actually line up on the platform on either side of the subway car doors that open and let the people get out of the subway first. Once everyone moves out, then the crowd moves into the subway. Oh and NYers in the subway get away from the doors to let other passengers get through who need to get off. Oh and absolutely no staring allowed whatsoever. :)

  6. I also like buses more here in Hong Kong but I guess there’s so many people that I hate public transport in general. On the contrary, going back to Spain will mean hating the buses.

  7. Ahh, seating position is crucial. If you can bring shopping bags and a backpack to take up more space, it’s even better.

    The Barcelona metro doesn’t sound as bad, but I see people smoking joints on it every now and then (but never cigarettes, strangely).

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