Muni to study effects of manspreading; BART encourages etiquette 

San Francisco bus and train riders may soon get a new lesson in etiquette: Close your legs, dudes.

A New York City movement to stop men from spreading their legs wide to ensure more room on public transit is making its way to San Francisco, in an effort by local agencies to spread the word on basic politeness.

The practice, known as "manspreading," is where riders, typically men, block seats on either side while sitting in a wide, V-shaped slouch. New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority is launching a public-relations campaign against the practice. One new sign by the authority reads, "Dude... Stop the spread, please. It's a space issue."

Now, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will conduct a survey to see how Muni riders feel about manspreading, a possible precursor to a campaign of its own.

"As part of our strategic-plan goals, we are looking to do additional outreach regarding Muni etiquette," SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said.

"Based on the survey results, outreach could include things like: not leaning on doors, asking passengers to move all the way and not stopping at the doorway, manspreading, not leaving large bags in aisles and on seats," and more, he said.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost declined to speak directly on the practice. But she noted "riders complain about crowding and people with poor etiquette of varying types."

She cited BART's continuing efforts to educate riders, adding "common courtesy goes a long way when trains are crowded."

Many transit riders The San Francisco Examiner spoke with said manspreading is an issue.

"People seem to double in size when they get on the train," said Marco Iannuzzi, an Italian tourist at the Powell Street station. "At home, we throw them off the train for that."

Martina Rogers, a San Francisco native, said she's seen people manspreading on Muni plenty of times. It's an annoyance, although workers with large backpacks bug her more, she said. The Examiner found at least one manspreading Muni rider on an N-Judah train, Marcus Eppers, a native of The City. When asked about the behavior, he said the SFMTA should focus its money on worthier causes rather than launching a campaign against manspreading.

And though his wide spreaded legs blocked two seats on the train, Eppers spotted a couple with a stroller and small child and readily gave up his three seats to let them sit.

"It's not a chauvinistic thing," he said, of manspreading. "It's chillin', and that's how I chill."

About The Author

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Born and raised in San Francisco, Fitzgerald Rodriguez was a staff writer at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and now writes the S.F. Examiner's political column On Guard. He is also a transportation beat reporter covering pedestrians, Muni, BART, bikes, and anything with wheels.
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