Well, you don’t see that every day

31 Oct

I got on a southbound train at Civic Center Station Friday morning, followed by a MARTA police officer who emerged from one of the unmarked doors opposite the fare gates just as the train was pulling in.

He got on and walked immediately to one of the seats at the end of the car where a guy was sitting, apparently asleep, with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled up over his head. The police officer knocked loudly on the hollow plastic of the seat, startling the sleeping man (along with everyone else in the car).

“How you doin’, sir?” the officer boomed jovially. The man said something inaudible.

“What station you goin’ to?” the officer asked.  No answer.

“What station you goin’ to, sir?” the officer asked again. “Five Points,”  the man answered

“How ’bout you, sir?” the officer asked, moving on to a man who was sitting in front of the sweatshirted sleeper and wearing an ill-fitting coat. “What station you goin’ to?”

The man’s answer couldn’t be heard from where I was sitting.

“Oh, well, you’re going the wrong way. You need a North Springs train,” the officer responded. He went on to explain that the man needed to get off at Peachtree Center station, go to the opposite side of the platform and catch a train going in the other direction. The officer stood over the two men as the train pulled into Peachtree Center Station and watched as the man in the coat gathered up his bags and shuffled out to the platform.

 Two men in suits, sitting next to wheeled suitcases, were across the aisle from me. “Why’s he doing that?” one of them said. “I don’t know. Never seen that before.” the other replied.

“Here ya go, this is Five Points,” the officer said to the man in the hoodie, who apparently had dozed off again. “Here ya go!” he said again, when the man didn’t move. Finally, the man stood up and walked slowly off the train, muttering.

In what must be a few thousand times riding MARTA, I’ve never before seen a police officer effectively throw someone off of a train. Without funds to immediately improve or expand service, maybe the agency is trying out new security strategies.

Is this going on a lot? Has anyone else seen anything like this happen?

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4 Responses to “Well, you don’t see that every day”

  1. atlurbanist 11/02/2011 at 4:43 pm #

    How interesting. I’ve never seen this happen before. But I’ve certainly seen plenty of people who needed to be kicked off the train (or bus) for various reasons. I certainly would be happy to find out that MARTA police are being more aggressive with policing the trains. It needs to be done, particularly during off times (meaning times other than main commuting hours), because that’s when the weirdest things happen.

    • tltinatl 11/02/2011 at 5:05 pm #

      What was really interesting was the way that the officer went directly to those two people. He didn’t get on the train and look around, he got on the door closest to them, walked directly over there and started talking to them right away, as if he already knew they were there. I wondered if another rider or the train operator had called the police to have them ejected.

      During the coldest part of the winter people sometimes ride the train for hours at night, just to be somewhere warm. I wonder if MARTA is trying to stop that before it starts this year.

  2. Tyler 12/15/2011 at 9:26 am #

    I witnessed MARTA police escorting what appeared to be a homeless man asleep on the floor in the back of our train car not too long ago. The frustrating part was there was a MARTA representative in the car before it arrived to my station at Peachtree Center. We waited for the MARTA police to arrive at the Peachtree Center station forcing our train to be delayed nearly 10 minutes.

    • OO 12/15/2011 at 5:19 pm #

      He was just sleeping sprawled out on the floor? That’s a new one on me.

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