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Rider drags Christmas tree onto Red Line at rush hour. Fellow commuter unimpressed

A passenger brought a large Christmas tree onto a Red Line train during rush hour Monday.
A passenger brought a large Christmas tree onto a Red Line train during rush hour Monday.(Magdalena Lopez)

Backpacks bumping into people.

Commuters on the station platform jamming the entrance of a crowded train as riders try to disembark.

The dreaded individual talking loudly on his or her phone, carrying on a conversation with no regard for fellow passengers.

These are problems that plague MBTA riders almost daily, small-yet-irritating infractions that are hard to avoid.

But at least once per year, around the holidays, a more prickly issue emerges like clockwork: People lugging Christmas trees onto full-to-bursting MBTA trains.

Happy holidays!

Transit officials are reminding commuters to think of their fellow riders after a person reported on Twitter Monday that someone had boarded a packed Red Line train during rush hour with a large, bushy Christmas tree in tow.

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“We strongly encourage customers to use sound judgment while sharing a subway train with hundreds of commuters,” MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in a statement, after he was asked about the latest report of someone dragging a tree on board. “Are we asking too much?”

The incident was documented on social media Monday evening by Magdalena Lopez, who was stuck behind a tree that she said was as “wide as the train car” on the busy ride home to Dorchester from Downtown Crossing.

“Someone brought a Christmas tree onto the red line,” Lopez tweeted at the time. “DURING RUSH HOUR.”

Lopez then shared a picture of the offending tree in close proximity to riders.

Reached by phone Tuesday morning, Lopez said it wouldn’t be a big deal if someone were transporting a tree on an empty train, but doing it when people are standing shoulder-to-shoulder at rush hour was a bit much.

“I wouldn’t mind if it was off-peak,” Lopez said. “I’ve had to carry heavy stuff on the train, but a pretty big Christmas tree during rush hour seems kind of nuts.”

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While there’s no explicit rule stating that people aren’t allowed to bring Christmas trees onto trains, officials said, there are broader rules transit employees are asked to abide by.

“An employee must politely request passengers to keep doorways, aisles and passageways clear of obstructions, such as large bundles, bags, and suitcases,” according to a section of the T operator’s manual, which was forwarded to the Globe.

Another general rule states: “An employee should not allow articles to be placed in any position on a passenger vehicle that might interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle and the safety and convenience of customers.”

Pesaturo said ultimately it’s up to the discretion of a train operator or station official to let riders know if they feel that “the object could impede or otherwise inconvenience customers.”

Lopez’s encounter seems to be the first of the holiday season — at least according to a quick social media sweep — but others have inquired on Twitter about whether or not bringing a tree on the T is an affront to holiday cheer.

“Hey @MBTA is it ok to transport a Christmas tree home on the green line?,” a person asked in late November. “Do I need to swipe my Charlie card twice?”

The T didn’t reply on social media, but the answers from fellow passengers ranged from a resounding “Please no” to “As long as it is not during rush hour.”

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The issue seems to crop up every year, though in the past, T officials have said it isn’t a rampant problem — just the occasionally odd one.

In 2016, a Red Line rider said he was headed toward Davis Square during an evening commute when a man got on for a few stops holding a Christmas tree.

Two years prior, a similar scenario was shared on Instagram when a straphanger was spotted with a smaller tree on the same train line.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.