Toronto subway etiquette posters

Canada's National Post has created a set of printable subway etiquette posters for the Toronto Transit Commission, where, apparently, people don't know any better.

A TTC etiquette campaign the TTC doesn't know about (with printable posters)

Update: here's the NYC guerilla sign campaign that inspired it

(Thanks, Jeremy!)


  1. I think “Unless you have two asses, don’t take up two seats” is short and to the point, and would make an excellent poster.

  2. I saw it just moments ago, and have to say, “Hell yes.” The nail-clipping one is my favourite just because it’s so succinct. People really do this sometimes on the TTC; it’s amazing.

  3. My peeve is when people sit on the outside seat, forcing other people to ask for the inside seat. Of course people rarely ask for the inside seat unless it’s bloody crowded, so they get away with extra bumspace. I make a point to take those seats. Maybe I should start doing it even if there are other seats around.

    I can understand doing this if you don’t want to be stuck on the inside seat if you have to get off in a hurry, but my experience is that these people are usually doing it for reasons of comfort rather than expediency.

  4. The one thing that really bugs me about transit, is the way people who hope to get on a train/bus will crowd around the doors, and often force them to struggle through the mass to get free.

    1. Yes people crowding around the door to get in when they know there are going to be people exiting is my pet peeve as well.

      I try to lead by example and I see others doing this pointedly as well: Be the first one to the door but as the train stops stand right beside the door like your starting a que at McDonald’s. It usually works and a couple of people see and learn and practice it – thus spreading good with out a word (or more signs). :)

  5. Seen the bag thing on public transit in three countries. What REALLY makes my teeth grind is someone stuffing their bag on the accessible seats reserved for the frail, those with limited mobility, and mothers with children.

  6. i once sat beside a man who took out a razor and started shaving is face. on a certain bus route that rhymes with “shmuffrin”.

    they should also have ones for not playing music without headphones and not eating and wiping your hands on the seats. nasty. when i was in london the tube was so clean.

    1. And ban the music WITH headphones people too.. how I hate that incessant “Ktisch ktisch ktisch” sound that emanates from them, and the creepy zombie movements, and the mumbling and the vacant eyes….
      Dammit people, keep your choice in music to yourselves, either get decent headphones or turn the volume down.

  7. great for movie theaters, restaurants, bars, work, cafes, apple stores, hollywood bowl, stadiums. my co-worker used to pop her birth control pills at her desk then roll the eye goo in little balls all day–why can’t there be a poster for this?

    1. I’m curious about what you’re describing.

      I have no idea what your post means? When you say pop do you mean she used to break them open (I didn’t realise they were not solid)?

    2. my co-worker used to pop her birth control pills at her desk then roll the eye goo in little balls all day–why can’t there be a poster for this?

      OK, so the eye goo thing is the sort of private hygiene ritual that I’d rather not see either. But “popping birth control pills”? Unless she was “popping” them into her vagina, I am unclear how this was offensive to you? It’s just a pill–and a pill that works most efficaciously if it’s taken at the same time every day.

      My personal public transit nightmares are the guys (and it is usually guys) who step into the doors, and figure their work is done. Hey buddy, there’s a crowd of people behind you who’d like to get on the train, too. “Excuse me” works wonders, though.

  8. If it’s so irritating, politely ask the person with the bag to move it. 100% of the time it works all the time. Or you know, we could spend government bux so no one has to talk to anyone.

    1. “Red” got laid off after the last round of T.V. commercials fizzled, and he’s fallen on hard times.

  9. The nail clipping thing happened to me once. A girl was clipping her toenails, and a shard of nail flew across the car and landed on my newspaper. Another fun experience was the elderly lady who accused me of being a spy for the Catholic church, then tried to hit me with her cane. Is there a poster for that?

    1. I was on the Subway and watched as a man came on board holding the Bible. He then proceeded to walk up and down the car shouting about Jesus and repentance. Eventually he yelled “Who is the one who is the most high?” to which the man beside me replied “You are!”

  10. Or you know, we could spend government bux so no one has to talk to anyone.

    Canadians? Talk?

    1. In 2001, year of the census, 18,4% of all Canadians weren’t even born in Canada. Expect this to be over 20% come 2011, year of the next census. Moreover those people are massively concentrated in the center of our biggest cities. More-moreover they use public transit in a larger proportion than the rest.

      Canada is changing, a lot!

      1. Canada is a nation built on immigration. Always has been. Always will be. Deal with it.

        Unless you’re of First Nations heritage, IamInnocent, your ancestors were immigrants too. You are one of “those people”.

  11. If it’s so irritating, politely ask the person with the bag to move it. 100% of the time it works all the time. Or you know, we could spend government bux so no one has to talk to anyone.

    -yeah, no it doesn’t. i lived in Toronto 5 years and everytime I saw someone (my wife once – it turned into yelling back and forth) ask someone to move their stuff there was almost a fight for the extra seat they were using. personally, if i see someone taking up two spots on a jam packed bus my first instinct is to introduce their face to the sidewalk. i don’t really, but i do think the world is better off without them and apparently our Gov’t needs to spend money to clean up these asses

  12. I stand by my belief that Torontonians have the WORST subway etiquette in the world.

    There should be a poster about how you should let people OFF first before you charge onto the bloody train.

    1. We’ve got that problem here in Atlanta too.

      I’ve seriously considered commissioning few friends to put up flyers on the doors of all trains schooling people on in/out etiquette. I’ve seen someone in a wheelchair have to slog through a crowd of people getting on just to get out of the train.

  13. I’d be surprised to see any of these home-printed and put up on the subway though. This is the Toronto way. Fume silently for years, then when someone in New York does something that expresses a similar sentiment produce an even more Passive-passive-agressive response and show everyone and not do anything with it.

    Of course, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe these have been pasted up all over the ttc by people. I ride a bike.

    and by the way, I’d love to see some Toronto bike controversy content on boing boing, just to give the critics some international shame.

  14. but if I move my inhuman bag, someone will sit next to me…eeeeewwwww!!!!!!!

    The backpack is an introvert’s way of saying “I don’t even want the possibility that your arm is going to touch me.”

    (I do move my bag when the train is full, though. I may not like people to touch me, but I’m not THAT mean.)

  15. Grateful that these will bring us closer to a better day when thousands of ‘clever’ posters are up everywhere to enforce politeness and acceptable behavior.

  16. Buses should not have any seats. That way, everyone can stand. You can pack more people in that way.

  17. I’ve seen the bag tactic in Ottawa, and a variation, too. Business guys putting their briefcases between themselves and the outside wall of the bus. I’m not shy. I ask the offender to move the bag or case and invariably they do. I often get a ‘how dare you’ look, but they move it.

    They try the ‘reserving the inside seat’ trick here too, but don’t get away with that either.

  18. My favourite sign is the handwritten one fare collectors leave in the window when they take a lunch break. “Pay you’re fare and enter” (sic). Honour system = free ride, amirite?

  19. oh heavens Cory, please don’t get this NYC expat started on TTC etiquette. To Daemon @4 and Anon @19, who take words out of my mouth, I’ll content myself with adding: why are there any empty seats at rush hour? Why do people insist on standing, making the already crowded space even more difficult to squeeze into/maneuver around, when they could sit, making the commute easier for all? It’s a matter of social courtesy that’s instinctively understood in New York but apparently not here.

  20. We need these signs in New York. Badly. The signs our Metro Transit Authority puts up now are completely inane.

  21. Apparently Philadelphians aren’t quite the assholes we’re made out to be: I take the train every day and this has never been an issue. I mean, sure, people will put their bag down next to them, but they practically jump to move it for you before you can even finish saying, “Excuse me.”

  22. On the London Underground some naughty people (probably arts students from St Martins) have been producing signs with exactly the same colouring and font as the official ones and putting them in tube carriages, but with rather different messages – it must be very confusing for tourists!

    There are a whole host of them, but here is one photographed by Kim Noble – these are probably worth a boingboing article in and of themselves!

  23. I find this add discriminatory against backpack people and will be making a complaint to parliment as well as setting up small protests to ban this sort of hate. When will people accept that all forms of life, backpacks or not have feelings and they should be treated with repect.

  24. Hnh. I’ve boarded a bus in my wheelchair, and STILL been bi–*ahem* very rudely spoken to by the self-proclaimed not-disabled woman sitting on the fold-down bench marked for a wheelchair area, insisting she had more right to be there than me.

    Half of the seats on the bus were still empty. That bench, however, covered the only available wheelchair tie downs–straps to keep my wheelchair anchored in place both for my safety and that of other passengers. The driver explained this to her. She then CONTINUED to harass me for the next ten minutes, commenting on my upbringing and ridiculous sense of self-entitlement, how wrong it is for a teenager (uhm, I’m married and in my twenties but was traveling alone) to force a GROWN woman to change her seat, as well as a few racial comments.

    Folks, if you feel the need to sit in the disabled seating area when you aren’t, please have the decency to move without complaints and insults. Bonus points if you do so quickly and voluntarily.

  25. I frequently encounter the nail clippers and annoying cell phone shouters and preachers and crackheads and creeps during my daily commute on the TTC. I complain frequently to the TTC by email, but I’m mostly too cowardly to actually do something about it in the moment. Too bad I’m a chicken… but also too bad that I have to share my commute with social weirdos and crazy people.

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