The MTA’s Etiquette Campaign Is Back and This Time Takes Aim at Bridge-and-Tunnelers


Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road riders, be on alert: If resting your feet on the seat in front of you is your thing, your world is about to crumble.

On the strength of its successful subway etiquette campaign, which launched earlier this year, the MTA is now trying to improve the commuting experience for the 576,000 Metro-North and LIRR riders who, as it turns out, can be just as selfish and awful as the rest of us. MTA officials have announced an extension of the Courtesy Counts campaign — which we’re all familiar with thanks to the ubiquitous subway placards that taught us to, among other things, stop spreading our legs when we sit and hogging the poles when we stand. The now-famous red and green stick figures that were the stars of the campaign will now be making their way to Long Island and Poughkeepsie. Only this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.

Yes, they still want you to “take your litter with you” and do your grooming at home. But “Courtesy Counts: Metro Region Edition” also includes a few no-no’s that are specific to suburban commuter trains, like “Keep Your Feet off the Seat,” “Use the Overhead Rack,” and “Keep Your Belongings out of the Aisles.”

According to the MTA, the Courtesy Counts campaign was always intended to be a system-wide initiative with the rollout starting with the subways. Since its launch in December, the $76,000 campaign has received its fair share of publicity — which mostly zeroed in on the plea to end “manspreading” — and has been spoofed and memed by New Yorkers online and across social media. But has it made a difference?

“I would say we met our principal objective, which was to begin a conversation about behaviors that, if curbed, could make for a better ride for all of us — and in some cases provide a smidge more room,” says Meredith Daniels, an MTA spokeswoman. “There’s more awareness, for sure. You’ve seen the coverage by media and throughout social media.”

The new placards have started to appear on both train lines this month and will eventually be placed in more than 2,000 cars. More than 2,600 of the cards, designed by North Bergen, New Jersey–based Edison Lithograph and Printing Corp., have been displayed on subways.