MTA Will Try to Teach Subway Etiquette to Backpackers and ‘Man-Spreaders’

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Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Subway riders who refuse to take off their backpacks or insist on sitting with legs extended about the length of a subway bench: Be warned. The MTA is coming for you. In January, a new campaign will target backpack-wearers and “man-spreaders,” those people who fail to obey the sacred laws of personal space. The new ads will include signs and PA announcements, and the MTA will scrap its current slogan, “Courtesy is contagious,” because such subtle hints were not getting through, anyway.

One MTA board member Charles Moerdler did go a bit further, suggesting backpacks be banned from the subway altogether. But perhaps realizing this was a utopian dream, or anticipating the backlash, Moerdler clarified by saying he merely wants to make it an enforceable rule that riders must remove their knapsacks, noting that it’s the “right thing to do” on a crowded train. True, but probably still futile.