Reminder From the MTA: The Subway Car Is Not Your Personal Bathroom

Attention straphangers: Don't pole dance. Keep your stuff to yourself. And please, while everyone wants to look their best, don't use the subway car as your personal bathroom; keep the nail clippers at home.

Ads to remind New Yorkers of proper etiquette began going up in subway cars last Friday, the MTA said. The placard campaign, "Courtesy Counts, Manners Make a Better Ride," led by the now renowned plea for no more "manspreading," was announced last month and starting rolling out last week.

The ads will appear in 2,600 subway cars, the MTA said. The goal of the campaign is to help commutes be a bit less stressful for the more than 8 million people who ride the subway every day, the agency said. Additional campaigns will be created for buses and the LIRR and Metro-North Railroad.

The colorfully-designed placards employ simple graphics to illustrate behavioral “do” and “don’t” scenarios.

For example, “Poles are for your safety, not your latest routine," discourages the notorious improv dancing that uses the poles as props, and "It's a subway car, not a dining car," reminds New Yorkers not to chow down on trains, especially when overcrowding during peak travel times increases the likelihood that one straphanger's messy snack may end up in the eyes or hair of another. .

The messaging is largely derived from subway rider complaints, the MTA said.

"Courtesy is always important but it takes on an added significance as transit ridership continues to increase,” NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco said in a statement when the campaign was announced last month. "The simple act of stepping aside to let riders off the train before you board can trim valuable seconds from the time a train dwells in a station while removing a backpack makes more room for everyone."  

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