CTA

The CTA’s new courtesy campaign points out all of the ways you’re being a jerk in transit.

It’s no secret that packing into a lurching, overcrowded train brings out our basest, most obnoxious qualities. If you ride the subway often enough, you’re bound to see all sorts of disgusting stuff, from public urination to puddles of vomit and discarded nail clippings—not to mention people sprawled out across a number of seats. (As we’ve previously noted, manspreading is a plague.)

Chicago is the latest city to launch a campaign intended to curb our bad transit behavior.

In contrast to New York’s MTA campaign entitled “Courtesy Counts, Manners Make a Better Ride,” the CTA initiative, launched on Wednesday, isn’t pulling any punches. The MTA characterized their placards as “gentle, but firm reminders pointing out common courtesies.” The CTA posters take it up a notch with snarky tag lines. Take, for instance, “Your maid doesn’t work here. Please don’t leave your crap behind.”

CTA

On the other hand, the cartoon figures that populate the MTA’s world get off with little more than a light slap on the wrist. The ad below is essentially equivalent to asking, “Excuse me, sir, would you mind removing your knapsack?”

MTA

The CTA ads seem to be full of vitriol gurgling just below the surface. They throw serious shade at people gabbing on their phones. Look at the scathing side-eyed glances this wild-eyed lady is receiving from her fellow riders.

CTA

One contender that gives Chicago’s campaign a run for its money: this series of courtesy ads unleashed in Paris in 2012. They compare riders to wild animals, like this buffalo charging in the door, barreling through a throng of other passengers. (Translation: “If you jostle people while boarding, you still won’t leave any faster.”)

RATP

Are we rude on the subway? Sure. (In fact, 63 percent of Parisians admitted to the kinds of behaviors that were lambasted in the ads.) But sometimes it seems that the punishments for insensitive behavior go too far. Recently, manspreading has led to the arrest of two Latino men in NYC, Gothamist reported. (The trumped-up, broken windows-style charges were dismissed in court.) Other etiquette issues—such as slumping with feet up on seats—have also resulted in arrests. Hopefully this good-natured public shaming will pay off, and these ads will help us be a little less annoying on trains without inspiring a rash of prosecutions.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

  2. photo: A vacant home in Oakland that is about to demolished for an apartment complex.
    Equity

    Fix California's Housing Crisis, Activists Say. But Which One?

    As a controversy over unoccupied homes in the Bay Area and Los Angeles reveals, advocates disagree about what kind of housing should be built, and where.

  3. photo: a high-speed train in Switzerland
    Transportation

    The Case for Portland-to-Vancouver High-Speed Rail

    At the Cascadia Rail Summit outside Seattle, a fledgling scheme to bring high-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver found an enthusiastic reception.

  4. photo: a woman on an electric scooter
    Transportation

    Most Electric Scooter Riders Are Men. Here's Why.

    Most users of micromobility devices like dockless scooters and e-bikes are young men. Fixing that gender gap may take more than just adding safety features.

  5. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

×