I find people who intentionally take up more than one seat on the subways to be among the most egregious examples of the disregard straphangers have for each other underground. Most normal-sized people can’t fit on the made-for-tiny-people bucket seats in the R62s and R68s, but some people like to spread out, lie down or use the seat next to them for their bags. It’s rude, and when it interferes with the comfort and convenience of other passengers, it’s against New York City Transit Rules and Regulations.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the NYPD should begin a ticketing blitz to target everyone taking up too many seats. Yet, according to the Daily News, that’s just what they’ve done. Officers have handed out 8700 tickets to people taking up two seats, “a 17% increase over the previous year.” Of course, police officials declined to comment, and the stories are egregious. One officer ticketed a straphanger on an empty G train at 2 a.m. and told the person receiving the summons that the ticket “would probably be tossed out by the Transit Adjudication Bureau.” TAB, not known for adhering to normal legal procedures, upheld the ticket because the person arguing didn’t put forth “a legally recognizable defense.”
As a current student of law and a transit advocate, unnecessary ticketing along with shady adjudication procedures irk me. The Rules of Conduct clearly state that taking up more than one seat is a violation only “when to do so would interfere or tend to interfere with the operation of the Authority’s transit system or the comfort of other passengers.” A crowded train at rush hour would fall under that provision; a G train at 2 a.m. would not. I know revenue is tight, but the egregious issuing of summonses, as I said in December, should be put to a halt.