NYC Launches Campaign Against The ‘Subway Spread’


The subway spread has been a trend that seems to be growing in numbers every day. Man spreaders, which is the more common term these days – where legs are spread so far apart on public transport that they encroach on the surrounding commuters personal space – are more likely than not to be of the male persuasion.

Recently, reporter Laura Evans took to the streets of New York City to see what commuters had to say about the subway spread, and asked those commuters guilty if they even realized they were committing the act. Most stated they didn’t, and that it was necessary to sit with legs wide apart. [1]


Evans eventually presented a measuring tape to the commuters to measure the distance between legs, with some measuring up to 18 inches.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has also announced a new campaign to tackle this issue in the name of courtesy on public transportation. Also targeted will be anyone with oversized luggage to rethink the potential discourtesy to other passengers.[2]

[1] Kleeman, S. (2014, December 18). Watch one brave woman confront manspreaders on the Ney York City subway. [Identities Mic]. Retrieved from

[2] Kleeman, S. (2014, December 18). The New York City subway is taking a stand against outrageous male privilege. [Identities Mic]. Retrieved from


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  1. I’m not from a city that has many public transport options so I can’t and will not claim to be an expert on the subject. I am however a man and while 18 inches of spread seems a bit rediculous, some spread is necessary for comfort. Its better to spread a little than to constantly adjust in my opinion.

  2. Although this does seem like a unecessary waste of time, effort, and resources to investigate such issues, the existence of individuals who fails to recognize that they are taking up an excess amount of resources such as space in this case should be recognized. I believe it should be up to society as a whole to deter such actions from occurring through changes in cultural norm. I do have to say… a little leg space for a guy feels a lot better than no space.

  3. Its just as stupid as the hoodie law their trying to enforce here in oklahoma. These communist bastards think of the stupidest things not only to take our freedoms away but to wast our public tax money. They need to be throwen out of office and the public needs to take a stand by protesting and arming themselves with riot gear and shields and gas mask and batons in case the police want to get involved. And really show their asses.

  4. As someone who takes this exact transit system at least once a day for my entire life, I think this is a worthwhile campaign. There is nothing worse than getting on a crowded train after a long day and being smushed into the next person because some asshole has his legs spread across 3 seats. I understand needing a little space but that’s ridiculous.

    Just something that the article didn’t mention: this is part of a bigger campaign that the MTA has had for a long time about public courtesy.

  5. Seriously? We, as a society feel the need to make a rule about this. Just ask the person “hey you are taking up a lot of space sitting like that, would you mind scooting over?” Seriously we can’t just ask the ass hole to move the hell over.


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