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It may not be 'seat-hogging' ...

Anger at 'seat hogs' grows | Redesign Metro for crowds?
Maryland Transit Administration anti-seat hog campaign

Ann Scott Tyson's article about "seat hogs' riding the Metro has touched off a furious round of debate about people who sit in aisle seats on rail cars and block access to the window seats, and those who put their purses, briefcases and shopping bags in the empty spaces.

Many people say they will gladly allow access to the window seat if people will just ask. Here are some of the comments:

-- jbs280
"When I get the chance, I sit on the aisle seat - not to "hog" a seat, but because moving from a window seat in a crowded Metro car is difficult for me. Should I show my Disabled Person Metro ID and ask someone to let me sit down in the designated seats? Would you?

-- jdp123
The dynamic that people are missing is the new "commuter" on the Metro. They set up camp because they are commuting in from Gaithersburg, etc. They aren't accustomed to people needing to get in and out within say 4 stops. Meanwhile, the in city riders need to get out. So you have the conflicts of long ride squatters and short-term riders. People get caught in the middle trying to get out and long ride commuters get agitated that short riders need to get out. I try to stay near the door as a result. Cars used to be packed to Dupont maybe Woodley on the red line, now its Tenley or Friendship. Soon, I won't bother because I can't get on the train. Metro has to add more cars or the short ride commuters will take another route - like driving! But wasn't the point of buying into the high price of living in the city near a Metro stop so that I wouldn't have to drive to work? Ah, yes. So, Metro is causing the whole economics of living and working in DC to change and it will eventually drive people out because it's too expensive coupled with too much hassle. Hey, Fed., then where will you're workers come from? The decision makers need to get out there and try commuting on the system so that maybe they will begin to understand. Try it for a few weeks and you'll start seeking alternatives too.

-- BigNutz
I'm one of those that sits on the isle seat, even when the other one is empty. Reason being, I'm too tall for the 3" of leg room they give you. I never put anything on the empty seat, nor put my feet up. I won't offer the seat (unless you are 100 years old), but if someone asks, I will happily move so they can slide in. If you are not brave enough to ask....too bad for you.

-- RiverOtter
Please be careful about jumping to conclusions. I'm a tall man and simply don't fit in Metro seats. If I can't find a "facing" seat I have to sit on the aisle so I have a place for my (long!) legs to go. I try to be mindful of others and give folks access to the inside seat, but if my nose is in a book or newspaper sometimes I'm not aware of what's going on around me. A gentle request for access is always welcome!

So . . . a lot of the vitriol of people defending their right to sit on the aisle seat with an empty seat next to them is aimed at fat people. As a fat person, let me respond. I don't want to plaster myself against you or squish you or cause you discomfort. I have a bad ankle and, since the train have been operated manually, I have had a lot of trouble staying balanced standing up since there aren't a lot of handholds for a short person. If I ask you to move over into the window seat, it is not so I have more room but so that I can sit on the edge of the seat to gain more balance without taking up more than one seat. If I try to move to the inside seat, I will leak over and be taking up "your" space. Even sitting on the edge of the seat and being able to balance with both my tush and my feet grounded helps me and keeps me from the even bigger disaster of actually falling on other people while trying to hold on standing up.

Share your thoughts on Metro seating below or post a comment to one of the ongoing discussions.

By Michael Bolden  | July 19, 2010; 11:07 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Next: Escalator fix moved back again


I agree with Wiggs1. Fat people are constantly bashed and blamed. Just sit your rump down and hush. Or else... DRIVE! Geebus.

Posted by: sigmagrrl | July 19, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

When on this topic I always think about story linked at the end of my comment, which says it is extremely hard for someone to ask another for a seat - it is basically traumatic to some.

I know a lot of you say that you'll move if asked, however you are putting the rest of the care in an uncomfortable situation, where people have to be dominate and harass you if they want to sit.

Their assignment: to board a crowded train and ask someone for a seat. Then do it again. And again.
... Quickly, however, the focus turned to the experimenters themselves. The seemingly simple assignment proved to be extremely difficult, even traumatic, for the students to carry out.

Posted by: iolaire | July 19, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"I know a lot of you say that you'll move if asked, however you are putting the rest of the care in an uncomfortable situation, where people have to be dominate and harass you if they want to sit."

Sorry, but it's not about being dominate or harassing, it's called being an adult. If you are too timid to speak up and it is so "uncomfortable" to ask for a seat, sorry then you will be standing. What do you do in other social situations when you need to get by, get something, or ask for help/assistance? Do you just remain quiet? What a horrible existance and if anything you need to practice speaking up and asking for what you need. It is not harassing to say to someone "Excuse me, may I sit in that seat?". I have never had anyone not move to allow me to sit when asked like this. I have had a couple give a long sigh but in the long wrong they will get over it.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | July 19, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I have no problems with seats, White people are scared to sit next to me most times. A gift of being Black and young.

Posted by: jbworldwide | July 19, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes--just ask. Say "excuse me" and step over, around, and if necessary on the aisle seat sitters. You don't expect those with aisle seats at the movies to give them up, do you? But you do expect them to let you by.

Posted by: loco71 | July 19, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

This will be more important when Metro changes to all 4-car trains.

Posted by: jiji1 | July 19, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

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