Metro campaign includes message against ‘manspreading’

A Metro billboard is getting attention for calling out a problem that’s all too familiar for many riders.

At the NoMa-Gallaudet U. station, one of the images that pops up on a big screen shows a female rider sitting next to a man whose legs are spread out, intruding into her personal space. On top of it are the words, “Why is this seat so uncomfortable?” It goes on to say, “The answer is obvious. So is the solution.”

The behavior in question is commonly referred to as “manspreading,” and riders know it well.

“I think some don’t know that they’re doing it … but I think some guys are doing it on purpose,” said Carolyn Mackenzie, of Silver Spring, Maryland.

The Metro campaign against “manspreading” is seen at the NoMa-Gallaudet U. station on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. (WTOP/John Aaron)

“I deal with it every day,” said Regina Foshee, of D.C. “Everyone wants to take up two seats … I get it. I want to do it, too.”

“I think that’s pretty accurate,” Shanta Trivedi, of D.C., said of the ad. And though she thinks the ad might have an impact, “I do think that some of the people who do it have no idea they’re doing it.”

Jacob Ramos, of Orlando, Florida, is an admitted manspreader. “I’m doing it for comfortability’s sake, not to be a bad guy,” he said.

Ramos added that if someone tells him he’s taking up too much space, he’ll move.

The ad is part of a “Metro Manners” campaign that has been in effect since the winter. A Metro spokesman called it “part of routine efforts to reinforce courteous behavior.”

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