stand clear of the closing doors

See Manspreading Ads and Other Courtesy Campaigns From Transit Systems Around the World

At the New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex and Store, Grand Central Terminal, through July 2016.

Japan, 1976. Photo: Courtesy of Tokyo Metro Cultural Foundation

Bad subway behavior is a universal. That’s the small consolation New York City straphangers can take from an exhibit at the New York Transit Museum, which features a slew of etiquette ads, spanning decades, from across the United States and around the world. The collection is an ode to all things that have annoyed people on public transit since cities began stuffing strangers together and shuttling them between stops — from litterers to seat hogs to the infamous manspreaders.

See below for a sampling of these ads — plus a few more from New York City’s decades-long (and somewhat dubiously successful) attempt to teach riders some manners. 

Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), 2015 Photo: Courtesy of the Chicago Transit Authority
“The tram always has priority.” Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (STIB-MIVB), 2015. Photo: Courtesy of Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (STIB-MIVB) and Advertising Agency Mortierbrigade SA with permission of David P. Favest
New York “Subway Sun” Ads, 1940s. Photo: Courtesy of New York Transit Museum
London Underground, 1986 Photo: TfL from the London Transport Museum Collection
Tokyo, 2012. Photo: Courtesy of Tokyo Metro Cultural Foundation
MTA, 1960s. Photo: Courtesy of New York Transit Museum
Vancouver, 2011. Photo: Campaign by Robert Willis, Illustrations by Ed Spence, Print Design by Koot Botha Courtesy of TransLink
Tokyo Metro, 1976-1982.
New York City “Subway Sun,” 1949. Photo: Courtesy of New York Transit Museum
Union Internacional de Ferrocarriles, 1978.
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), 2012. Photo: Courtesy of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
Metro Taipei, 2014. Photo: Courtesy of Metro Taipei
See Manspreading Ads From Around the World