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MTA Launches “Courtesy Counts” Ad Campaign as Agency-Wide Ridership Records Continue

Updated October 3, 2023 1:15 p.m.
MTA Launches "Courtesy Counts" Campaign

Digital Illustrations Displayed in Subways, Buses, Commuter Rails, and Across Stations 


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today unveiled “Courtesy Counts,” a multi-agency campaign reminding customers to follow the MTA’s Code of Conduct and treat fellow riders and public spaces with respect. The 34 illustrations that will be a part of this campaign feature a variety of creative artwork with messaging reminding transit customers about different ways to respect fellow riders and encourage courteous behavior in public spaces.  


Examples of messages that will appear in the system include keeping seats clear for other riders, keeping pets in carriers and service animals leashed, letting people on and off the train without obstruction, not talking loudly on the phone, wearing headphones, giving everyone room to stand, not laying down taking up multiple seats, not smoking or vaping, not holding the doors, not charging electric vehicles, not leaving the emergency exit door open for others to enter without paying the fare, not leaving a bike unattended or obstructing space, and not littering. 


“In our busy lives, it’s easy to forget that your own individual behavior can have an impact on your fellow riders’ commute, and even their day, so why not be courteous,” said Acting Chief Customer Officer and Senior Advisor Shanifah Rieara. “The goal isn’t to lecture anyone, we just wanted to have a little bit of fun explaining our Rules of Conduct as ridership continues to grow.” 


“This campaign is especially important for the disability community and reminds customers what a difference it can make to keep doorways clear, or give up your seat to someone who needs it” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer and Senior Advisor Quemuel Arroyo. “While New Yorkers are busy and have a lot going on, we can all take a second to do the right thing and let another rider have an enjoyable time and pleasant ride 


“With Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road continuing to set post-pandemic ridership records, it’s a great time to remind customers to show common courtesy while riding with us,” said LIRR Interim President and Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “Simple things like keeping the aisles clear and throwing out trash give all of our customers a better experience while traveling with us.” 


“At New York City Transit, we are laser focused on delivering customers faster, cleaner, and safer service,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. “We’ve stepped up, adding service on a number of subway lines and raising on-time performance to its highest level in decades. Now, we’re asking our customers to do their part by showing respect to their fellow New Yorkers and by helping us keep trains and buses moving by following the Rules of Conduct.” 


“The Courtesy Counts campaign is a great reminder of who we are as New Yorkers, the way we would like to be treated, and the way we ought to treat each other. I’m glad at the MTA, we can make this front and center.” said NYC Transit Senior Vice President of Subways Demetrius Crichlow. “The amazing men and women who for Transit do their part, but individual behavior also plays a role. It’s important to be kind and courteous.” 


Riders will start seeing rolling images today throughout the transit system displaying messages such as “If you don’t make the train, don’t make it wait,” “Let’s clear the air,” “Leave some seat for the rest of us,” “Pull the plug,” “Watch your backpack,” “Seats are for butts, not your bags,” “Your pet shouldn’t come if they can’t stay,” “Take your trash when your ride is over,” “Block punts. Don’t block doors.,” “If you don’t make the train, don’t make it wait,” “The train isn’t a bike rack,” and “Leave us off the conference call,” among other ads.  


Digital ads will be displayed on a rolling basis in subway cars, buses, Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro-North trains, and in station platforms across the system. The campaign will also appear on social media and on pamphlet cards that will be handed out to customers. 

The campaign was launched following a record-breaking period for transit ridership. Earlier this month, the New York City Subway recorded its highest post-pandemic single-day total for paid rides on consecutive days. On Wednesday, Sept. 20, subways recorded 4,179,902 paid rides, surpassing the previous post-pandemic high of 4,144,828 set just a day before, on Sept. 19.  


The commuter railroads also saw post-pandemic highs. LIRR set a post-pandemic record on Wednesday, Sept. 20, carrying 242,202 riders and surpassing the previous high set on June 21, 2023.  


Metro-North Railroad set its post-pandemic record on Tuesday, Sept. 19, carrying 224,426 riders. This surpassed the previous total set on June 20 when Metro-North carried 224,371 riders. In addition to the overall post-pandemic high, this week Metro-North celebrated its highest ridership on a Monday since the pandemic with 192,103 paid rides. 


New York City bus paid ridership continues to trend upward. On Thursday, Sept. 14, buses surpassed the 1.5 million paid ride mark for the first time since May 17, 2023.