When it’s morning rush hour and New Yorkers are packed into a subway car like sardines in a can, you don’t want to be that person—you know, the one who spilled their morning coffee across the bench so no one can sit there, or the one blasting music through speakers instead of listening on their headphones.
You can’t live in New York City without ever taking the subway, but it’s not always a pleasant experience. If everyone on your commute followed these simple guidelines, getting where you need to go would be easy, quick, and maybe even enjoyable!
You don’t need two seats.
There may be some days when your gym bag is so heavy it could qualify as another person, but that doesn’t mean it should get its own seat. Hold your belongings in your lap or stow them beneath you, and for the love of God don’t use the benches as your own personal footrest. And a message to all you manspreaders: stop! That woman giving you the side-eye from her standing spot near the door has a good reason.
You also don’t need the whole pole.
No one would call subway operators smooth drivers, which is why there are poles and overhead railings outfitted in every train car. When you lean or wrap your arms around a pole, there’s a high chance that someone nearby is left without anything to hang on to. One hand on the pole is enough, and it lets others keep their balance, too.
If you can stand on two feet, give up your seat.
It’s common courtesy: offer your seat to anyone who is pregnant, elderly, or disabled. The New York metro system is already less than friendly to those who need extra assistance, lacking handicap access in many stations. Don’t make it any harder for them.
Don’t make the trains later than they already are.
NYC subways are notoriously off-schedule, with delay announcements and re-routings plaguing commutes on a daily basis. Some of these are caused by construction or signal malfunctions, but others are actually caused by the commuters themselves. Stand to the side to let passengers off before you get on to avoid traffic jams at the doors, and refrain from holding doors open. It may only seem like a few extra seconds, but it could throw off the timing of the entire route.
Treat others how you would want to be treated.
It’s great that you woke up early enough to grab a breakfast burrito from the corner bodega, but it’s not great when the entire subway car still smells like pinto beans five stops after you got off. Respect the boundaries of your fellow commuters. That means waiting until you get to work to unwrap your breakfast, using headphones because your favorite song isn’t everyone’s favorite song, and taking your backpack off your back so you’re not unknowingly hitting the people standing behind you. It’s the nice thing to do.