Single Riders, Poaching, Park Rules, Ethics, and a side of fries

Sunday, August 8, 2004 12:36 AM
"Hey look! There's a can of worms. Oops. Andy, you just opened it."

So I've been doing/thinking about a lot of poaching and other park rules and an experience I had at the park today made me want to start a topic.

I was in line for the front of Roar at SFMW today and the line was a bit long (it was a Sat. evening.) A single rider was in front of me (who happened to be an 8 year old boy) and I was a single. After about a 15 minute wait in the front row queue (and having been cut by fastpass/special access riders) the gates opened, he got in, I got in. He said, "I'm riding alone." I said, "There's a perfectly good seat there. I'm going to ride with you." He said, "No you're not, I'm riding alone." and got up and went back through the gates.

My thought at this point (having watched stupidity kill the capacity of countless coasters) was "This guy obviously has no respect for the other people who are waiting in line for this ride." So my respsonse was to get out, let the next pair of people go, and insist that I would ride with the single. The next train pulls in, we do a little in and out dance for a bit and finally I end up riding alone. He ends up riding alone in the next train.

My questions:

Is it a rider's right to ride alone if they want to? My thought would be "no" since there's a sign explicity stating that single riders will be paired together, but I'm also the kind of person that stands in line and tries to pair up singles. It seems really really disrespectful to the other people in line, especially if you're in line for the front. On the other hand, I have no idea what experiences some people have had with riding with strangers or with strangers in general. Maybe the boy had some kind of condition that would prevent him from riding with someone else?

If the park doesn't enforce its own policies, should I enforce them? If someone cuts me, you better believe I'm going to ask them not to. If someone cuts someone else but not me, then I'm a little shakier. If someone's got a camera on a ride or unfastens a seatbelt, I'll let 'em hear it. If someone puts their arms up on a ride...well. If someone's sitting on hand rails...If someone else is poaching...

Are there park rules that, for whatever reason, are okay to break every now and then, with or without ride-op consent? Poaching? Hands up on rides? Preferred seating switch? Ducking/climbing handrails? Cameras on rides? Extra lap bar room? Seatbelts?

*** Edited 8/8/2004 4:39:36 AM UTC by ApolloAndy***

Sunday, August 8, 2004 12:53 AM
If I were in your position with the kid, Andy, I would have done the same thing. It dosen't matter if he does have a condition where he needs to ride alone or at least not with a stranger. When you get in a line with signs stating park operating procedures and policies, you are automatically agreeing with them. If he did have said condition, he should have had his parents explain that at Guest Relations and they would probably have done something about it.

Sounds like the kid was just being a idiot in this case, though.

As for line jumping. If I'm in line and someone tries to jump, they do just that: Try. They will not succeed. I don't care if its the Frickin Rock, he's not getting by me. I will not back down for anybody. Bullying dosen't work on me now that I'm an adult. It just ticks me off even more that someone thinks I should be scared of them. Then I'm ready to rumble...

As for putting up hands, is that against any park rules? I could assume the whole "Keep hands and legs inside...." thing is what you are talking about, but I was always under the impression that if your hands were raised, they weren't outside of the car any more than your head is, but that the park was more specifically trying to keep your apendages from outside the sides of the rides.

I too will let people have it if they are doing the seatbelt and camera stuff now. The park can't enforce policy if they don't know someone is breaking it. I'm not some tool that tattles on everyone, but no body is going to put me at risk of danger on a ride, and no body is going to ruin my fun exp. unless it is the ride designer, but thats a risk we're all willing to take.

Sunday, August 8, 2004 1:08 AM
I've been to SFMW, Knott's and SFMM. They always make me thankful to come home to Ohio, because the line-jumping is just terrible at those three California parks that I've been to, and the staff doesn't seem to care about doing anything about it. None of those parks seemed to do anything about single riders, either.

It was nice to get on the Raptor and the Magnum during a busy time earlier this summer at CP, where both crews were making certain that no seats went unfilled. And they managed to do it without delaying the trains.

Sunday, August 8, 2004 1:09 AM
When you enter a line, your expectation is that after waiting, you will recieve one ride. Unless a guest waited in line for a specific location on the train (front, back), the park has the right to assign seating. Guests do not, nor do they have the right to decide who will ride with them.
Sunday, August 8, 2004 1:27 AM
I was in the same position as the 8 year old once. I was a single rider and I wanted to ride alone. My reason was simple. I wanted to buy the on board picture taken during the ride and didn't particularly want a stranger in the photo with me. If it weren't for that, I generally have no problem riding with strangers if I am a single rider.

BTW, the person fully understood when I explained about the picture thing. In fact, I even offered to let him go first and I jump in the next train.

So, maybe the kid had a legitimate reason but just declined to tell you. Or, maybe he was just being an embecile.......

Sunday, August 8, 2004 1:42 AM
I too would have done the same thing as you, ApolloAndy. I am just wondering if the next folks in line saw what was going on and made a stink out of it. If not, I would have brought it to their attention. They are the ones who are going to make a stink, and typically not the ride ops (at MOST parks).

**I also have to add here that I am extremely impressed that you contemplated getting out and letting the next group go instead of you. Having to compensate for the "jerkiness" of others is so unfair, but makes you such a better person.

I am not sure what the deal was with "that" kid. Many kids, and many adults, for that matter, do not understand that by using every available seat, that the lines will move quicker. I actually had a brief argument with a group of three kids who were behind a group of two. My husband and I asked to go with the other group of two (so as to fill up all 4 of the seats), and the group of three said we would be "cutting". I explained that no matter what, that they would need to wait for the next train whether we got in front of them or not. There was no reasoning with them, and eventually dropped the issue.

I can't tell you how upset I get when half empty trains arrive at a station, and I have been waiting for 30+ minutes. Then again, I also am always tickled pink when someone else in my line yells "two" and we get to move ahead and ride early. I'm pro the full train and less wait times.

Rules are rules in the park, and they are in place for a reason. Have I ever broken any of a park's rules? Sure I have, but NO ONE was hurt or incovenienced by my actions.

Sunday, August 8, 2004 1:49 AM
I could see that the kid just may have wanted to ride by myself. I'd much rather ride by myself than with a stranger, but I've never once turned down a seat or got mad when someone else sat with me. Well, I have gotten perterbed when someone else sat with me, but it wasn't because they sat with me, it was because they got on my nerves during my coaster exp. However, I didn't have a general problem with sitting with anybody, just that person.;)
Sunday, August 8, 2004 2:05 AM
Honestly, I ride the coasters at MW enough that wouldn't even care if I didn't get to ride at all (which may have been the even higher ground to take - skip riding altogether and come around again to fully compensate and make the kid feel bad ;)). But going there day after day and seeing a ride like V2 have a half hr. wait and seeing 4 or 5 singles in some trains is just frustrating when I'm trying to power ride (and I'm not poaching ;)). At some point, I just want people to realize how much difference it makes (maybe everyone should go to CP once and see how much faster a well run ride goes).

*** Edited 8/8/2004 6:05:55 AM UTC by ApolloAndy***

Sunday, August 8, 2004 2:23 AM
Hrm. I guess one of the reasons I bring up poaching is because I do it so much on V2, but I really think there's a "right" way and "wrong" way to poach. The wrong way is to wait for the gates to open, scramble for any seat that looks empty, hop in and pull down the restraint. This leads to the ops needing to recheck the whole train when the person who was putting his/her stuff down returns and the restraints need to be unlocked.

The right way is to watch the gates when they open, look for a single rider. Wait for everyone to put their stuff down and return to the train. Then, once you're sure no one is sitting there, hop in the seat, ask the other person if anyone is riding there and wait for the attendant to come before locking yourself in. The worst that happens is someone comes, you get up and are on your way.

The real trouble is that, according to the park, there is no "right" way to poach, even if it isn't inconveniencing anybody. Especially because sometimes other people see it and start poaching the "wrong" way. *** Edited 8/8/2004 6:24:49 AM UTC by ApolloAndy***

Sunday, August 8, 2004 2:27 AM
I seat poach on Medusa, and no one seems to have a problem with it. I just make sure to sit down after they have their restraints locked and the gates closed. :)
Sunday, August 8, 2004 2:29 AM
One of the ops, Tyler I think is his name, has nailed me a couple of times for poaching Medusa. I don't try it anymore...
Sunday, August 8, 2004 2:38 AM
All depends on the crew... some are harsh, others could care less. If they are new or by-the-book, they won't let you. But if you get one of those rare crews that don't give a sh*t, it's pretty easy.
Sunday, August 8, 2004 3:03 AM
On S:RoS @ SFNE there are large signs in the station that say keep your hands on the lap bar at all times, so basically dont raise your hands, this of course was put up after the accident and No One pays attention to it as everyone has their hands up, including me. Some rules are meant to be broken it seems.
Sunday, August 8, 2004 9:23 AM
What at waste of a perfectly good front seat!
Sunday, August 8, 2004 11:33 AM
I think AppolloAndy answered his own question when he asked "if the parks don't enforce their own rules, should I?". Absolutley not, you don't work there. You dohave a right to complain to someone at the epark, but you certainly do not have any authority there.

I think an 8 year old should certainly be able to ride alone, rather than with a total stranger, with all that is going on in society. I think you were way out of line, especially when you got out of your seat and let 2 people go in front of you. the kid must have been scared to death. You should have ridden by yourself. You actually slowed the process down.

It was only a ride on a coaster for gosh sakes.

Sunday, August 8, 2004 12:06 PM
I don't really have an opinion on the whole seat poaching thing (I almost never do it myself except on B&M coasters if there are less that four in the same row I am waiting in). I CAN say that I have had some pleasant experiences riding with people that were strangers. Some people are pretty neat, and I usually go to parks (or at least on the rides) alone.
Sunday, August 8, 2004 1:23 PM
I agree with "buddying up" single riders. Like prabe said, you can meet some cool people. But you can also meet some smelly ones. I rode SRoS at SFDL with some random guy who really needed some deodorant, and a shower wouldn't have hurt. Of course he rode with his hands up the whole ride.

As for poaching, I think its a "shade of gray." You wait in line in turn for 1 ride. If people are waiting, you go to the end of the line. That empty seat could be filled with another single rider. However, I don't really see an issue if the train comes back and the station is nearly empty. They do this at SFDL during Fright Fest. They actually announce that if nobody is waiting for your seat, you can stay on the ride. But you cannot leave your seat and jump to another. Just my $.02...

Sunday, August 8, 2004 1:54 PM
We used to have the op who was assigned to the front of the Que on the Giant Wheel (CP) send single riders and groups of two to a seperate line. From there the platform crew could fill the cabins to their capacity quickly.It worked pretty good, for a while. Then one day some parents objected to their child being placed in a cabin with "strangers". They filed suit, it was settled out of court and the filler line was no more.
Sunday, August 8, 2004 2:13 PM

Ohio Coaster Fan said:
I think AppolloAndy answered his own question when he asked "if the parks don't enforce their own rules, should I?". Absolutley not, you don't work there. You dohave a right to complain to someone at the epark, but you certainly do not have any authority there.

What about if someone's cutting me? Or if someone in front of me on the train is holding out their camera? This discussion will be very hard to boil down to a black and white statement...

Sunday, August 8, 2004 2:30 PM
What if filming onride is allowed? If your at your home parks and you know the rules then sure, but if your visiting a new-to-you park and don't know the rules, you've got no place to say whether its right or wrong... Unless it's at CP where everything is illegal ;)

Now if somebody is line jumping, I'd stop them.
*** Edited 8/8/2004 6:30:52 PM UTC by rOLLocOASt***


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