MANHATTAN (PIX11) -- If you’ve ever squeezed your way into a crowded New York City subway car, you’ve inevitably encountered this character.
The straphanger who, despite the cramped conditions, refuses to take off his backpack to make room.
But if one MTA board member has his way, that rider who draws the ire of his fellow squished straphangers would be subject to a special rule.
At this month's transit committee meeting, MTA board members are hearing statistics that confirm what riders know: The trains are packed and delays are common.
Board member Chuck Moerdler on Monday asked about projects to add more capacity, and staff members pointed to communication-based train control that could allow more trains to run.
During the meeting, Moerdler complained about crowding on trains and commented that some riders wearing backpacks -- instead of putting them in the floor -- contributed to the problem.
"I think we should ban backpacks," Moerdler said.
The idea was not discussed further. He later explained to PIX11 News that rather than ban backpacks all together, he thinks the agency's code of conduct should be tweaked to require that straphangers take off their backpacks or put them on the floor.
MTA Rules of Conduct require riders not to obstruct the flow of traffic or take up more than one seat, but don’t specifically lay out the rules of backpack etiquette.
According to a portion of Section 1050.6, no rider may:
(i) conduct himself or herself in any manner which may cause or tend to cause annoyance, alarm or inconvenience to a reasonable person or create a breach of the peace;
(j) (1) occupy more than one seat on a station, platform or conveyance when to do so would interfere or tend to interfere with the operation of the Authority's transit system or the comfort of other passengers; (2) place his or her foot on a seat on a station, platform or conveyance; (3) lie on the floor, platform, stairway, landing or conveyance; or (4) block free movement on a station, stairway, platform or conveyance; ...